Charles Dickens as a Legal Historian

Charles Dickens as a Legal Historian

Charles Dickens as a Legal Historian

Charles Dickens as a Legal Historian

Excerpt

Many of Charles Dickens's novels touch upon the law and lawyers, in some of them the law and lawyers play a considerable part, and in one of them, Bleak House , the legal atmosphere is all pervading. Dickens was born in 1812; and the dates of these novels range from 1835 to 1870; so that the law and the lawyers, which Dickens had observed and described, were the law and the lawyers of the first two-thirds of the nineteenth century. That is now a period which has passed into history, and is beginning to attract the attention of historians, legal and otherwise. In these lectures I intend to show you that the treatment by Dickens of various aspects of the law and the lawyers of his day, is a very valuable addition to our authorities, not only for that period, but also for earlier periods in our legal history.

The time at which the scene of many of Dickens's novels is laid dates, in many cases, be-

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