Emotions in the early common law (c. 1166–1215)

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Beyond dealing with wrongdoing and litigation, law has many other functions. It can be designed to make life more predictable, it can facilitate and promote certain actions, it can seek to prevent disputes by laying down rules, and provide routes to solutions other than litigation should disputes arise. All of these can have connections to matters of emotion. Using both lawbooks and records of cases from the Angevin period, the present article begins by looking at issues of land law rather than crime, and at law outside rather than inside court. It then returns to crime and litigation before exploring the significance of the nature of legal records for the relationship between emotion and law. In doing so, it pays attention to emotion in action, to uses of emotionally charged language, to appearances of the vocabulary of emotions, and to the routinized use of words that might at other times or in other contexts have an emotional element. Underlying the analysis is an exploration of the ways in which some aspects of law became more discrete from ordinary social practice and discourse, in this instance through elements of distancing from emotion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-154
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Legal History
Issue number2
Early online date18 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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