Protecting the Best Men: An Interpretive History of the Law of Libel

By Norman L. Rosenberg | Go to book overview

Notes

INTRODUCTION
1. Alfred H. Kelly, "Constitutional Liberty and the Law of Libel: A Historian's View," AHR 74 ( 1968): 429-49, provided the original impetus.
2. William L. Prosser, Handbook of the Law of Torts, 4th ed. ( St. Paul, Minn., 1971), p. 737. This has been the prevailing view since at least the late nineteenth century. See, for example, "Slander and Libel," AmLR 6 ( 1871-72): 593-613.
3. Leon Green, "Political Freedom of the Press and the Libel Problem," TLR 56 ( 1978): 341-77, 352.
4. This commonly cited definition is from Kimmerle v. New York Evening Journal, 262 N.Y. 99, 186 N.E. 217, 218 ( 1933). Such definitions, of course, simply offer a rough guide to the problem of defamation law. In addition to other books and articles cited in the introduction, see "Developments in the Law--Defamation," HLR 69 ( 1956): 875-960.
5. Roy Robert Ray, "Truth: A Defense to Libel," MLR 16 ( 1949): 43-69, and 44- 46, offers a brief, straightforward discussion.
6. Theodore F. T. Plucknett, A Concise History of the Common Law, 4th ed. ( Boston, 1956), pp. 485-86; Colin Rhys Lovell, "The 'Reception' of Defamation by the Common Law," VLR 15 ( 1962): 1059-71, 1059-60; William T. Mayton, "Seditious Libel and the Lost Guarantee of a Freedom of Expression," ColLR 84 ( 1984): 91-142, esp. 98-106.
7. Plucknett, Concise History of Common Law, pp. 485-89. Frederick Seaton Siebert , Freedom of the Press in England, 1476-1776: The Rise and Decline of Government Control ( Urbana, Ill., 1952; reprint, Urbana, 1965), pp. 21-63 contains an extensive discussion of the Tudor system of controls. Pat O'Malley, "From Feudal Honour to Bourgeois Reputation," Soc 15 ( 1981): 79-93 is highly suggestive.
8. De Libellis Famosis, 5 Coke 125a, 77 English Reporter 250 ( 1606).
9. Sir William Holdsworth, A History of English Law, 16 vols. ( London, 1956- 66), 5:208-12; Plucknett, Concise History of Common Law, pp. 489-90; Lovell, "'Reception' of Defamation," pp. 1060-63.
10. Plucknett, Concise History of Common Law, pp. 496-501. In addition, common law courts heard cases involving blasphemy, defamation of religion. See Leonard W. Levy , Emergence of a Free Press ( New York, 1985), pp. 7-8, and Levy, Treason Against God: A History of the Offense of Blasphemy ( New York, 1981). Levy classifies prosecutions for obscenity as subsets of the general category of criminal libel. Emergence of a Free Press, p. 7.
11. Initially, what would be now considered civil suits for defamation were heard not by common law courts, but by local and church tribunals. See Chapter 1. In addition, see Van Vechter Veeder, "The History and Theory of the Law of Defamation,"

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