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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the meaning of taking a long view of the law. Artists and writers in Jane Austen’s England thought a lot about perspective and the picturesque: about what it means to choose one position instead of another from which to observe landscapes or human relationships, and thus about what it means to frame and thereby take a view. In legal history, taking a long view shows us that forces that appear motionless were not and are not. By placing previously undetected or unconnected objects—events, texts—in long flows of time, we see when and how human choices redirected those flows. As we do, we appreciate how our law has been and remains a result of conscious efforts to articulate the good and to fashion practices for obtaining it.

Keywords: legal history, Jane Austen, long view, longue durée

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