On Being On: Authority and the Legal Treatise
An exhibit on view in the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Level Two
March 6 - April 12, 2023
Accompanying "The Legal Treatise: Past, Present, and Future," a symposium organized by the Lillian Goldman Law Library, March 24, 2023
"On Being On: Authority & the Legal Treatise" asks what we mean when we cite Corbin on contracts, Littleton on tenures, Blackstone on the law of descents. Accompanying the Law Library's symposium on the treatise, this exhibit considers examples from the Library's rare book collection, and responses to this question offered by authors, readers, and publishers of the legal treatise from the medieval period to our own.
Highlights include: Arthur Corbin's intensely annotated proof copies of his Corbin on Contracts; readers' copies of Littleton's Tenures, annotated by 16th- and 17th-century readers in Law French and English; the first printed edition of Gratian's Decretum (1471), by a publisher associated with Johann Gutenberg; illustrated frontispieces showing 17th- and 18th-century court scenes; Stacey Abrams, describing the role of branding in genre writing, whether romance or the legal treatise.
Above image: Mother and child in court, in the frontispiece to this 18th-century German treatise on the law concerning rape. From Johann Jodocus Beck, Tractatus de eo, quod ustum est circa stuprum (Nuremberg: Johann Georg Lochners, 1743). Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale University, Germany 46 B38815.