Andrew J. Majeske. Equity in English Renaissance Literature: Thomas More and Edmund Spenser. New York: Rontledge, 2006. ix + 217 pp.
The author states the purpose of this revised dissertation early in his introduction:
This book will establish a broad historical context for the English Renaissance understanding of the concept of equity, particularly the idea's derivation from the classical Greek concept of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], in order to explain equity's various significations in More's Utopia and Spenser's The Faerie Queene. (1)
This deceptively simple thesis addresses a tangle of legal and philosophical concepts that were drawn together, intertwined, and twisted over time into a Gordian knot of immense complexity. It takes over half the book just to trace the various concepts of equity before the literary texts are even introduced. More then gets the majority of what's left, while Spenser receives the last twenty-one pages. Then there are forty-eight pages of appendices which include excerpts on equity from the writings of Hobbes and Grotius, and a commentary by the author on Cicero's Verrine orations.
Majeske begins by outlining the meanings of Greek [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Roman aequitas. The latter, he says, aimed at …