Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws: Perspectives on the Law of War in the Later Middle Ages

Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws: Perspectives on the Law of War in the Later Middle Ages

Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws: Perspectives on the Law of War in the Later Middle Ages

Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws: Perspectives on the Law of War in the Later Middle Ages

Synopsis

Shakespeare's Henry V has traditionally been acclaimed for its impressive depiction of the psychological and political impact of warfare, and it remains one of the most widely-discussed plays in the canon. In this highly original, scholarly, and thought-provoking study Professor Meron uses rare medieval ordinances and other medieval and Renaissance historical and legal sources to provide challenging new contexts for Shakespeare's famous play. The result is a gripping account of how Henry V and other 'Histories' dramatically articulated complex medieval and Renaissance attitudes to warfare and the conduct of nations and individuals in time of war. The author uses the play and the campaign itself as a frame for the examination of the medieval laws of war, and examines stability and change in attitudes towards the laws of war.

Excerpt

I acknowledge with thanks the helpful comments made on drafts of this study by John Baker, Luigi Condorelli, Yoram Dinstein, Gerald Harriss, Peter Haggenmacher, Graham Hughes, Colin Kidd, Peter Lewis, Andreas Lowenfeld, Aryeh Neier, David Norbrook, Ashley Roach, Donna Sullivan and Malcolm Vale. In addition, for their important help, I thank my research assistants David Berg, Joni Charme, Maria Chedid, Jenny Edelstein, and Audrey Schaus, and my Secretaries Marianne Martin, Isabelle Gerardi, and Doreen Ryan.

I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Maurice Keen and other Oxford medieval historians for their invaluable advice and guidance, so generously given.

I wish to express my appreciation to the Filomen D'Agostino and Max E. Greenberg Research Fund of New York University Law School, the Fellows and the staff of All Souls College, Oxford, where, as a Visiting Fellow in 1989 and 1991 I did much of the research for this study. I also thank the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, for its support, the American Journal of International Law for permitting me to use throughout this book sections of my article 'Shakespeare's Henry the Fifth and the Law of War', which appeared in the January 1992 issue of the Journal, and to the Journal's Associate Editor Anna Ascher for her outstanding editing of that article.

Finally, I am grateful for the help and courtesy of the staff of the Clarendon Press, and particularly for the encouragement offered by Richard Hart, Senior Law Editor.

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