Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Drama Ancient, Classical & Medieval

Taking Exception to the Law

Materializing Injustice in Early Modern English Literature

edited by Donald Beecher, Travis DeCook, Andrew Wallace & Grant Williams

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
Ancient, Classical & Medieval, Shakespeare, History & Criticism, General, Renaissance, General
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2015
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Taking Exception to the Law explores how a range of early modern English writings responded to injustices perpetrated by legal procedures, discourses, and institutions. From canonical poems and plays to crime pamphlets and educational treatises, the essays engage with the relevance and wide appeal of legal questions in order to understand how literature operated in the early modern period.

Justice in its many forms – legal, poetic, divine, natural, and customary – is examined through insightful and innovative analyses of a number of texts, including The Merchant of Venice, The Faerie Queene, and Paradise Lost. A major contribution to the growing field of law and literature, this collection offers cultural contexts, interpretive insights, and formal implications for the entire field of English Renaissance culture.

About the authors

Donald Beecher, a graduate professor in the English Department at Carleton University, assisted in the translation of The Scruffy Scoundrels. His research has revolved around scholarly editing, a way of realizing the joys and conquests that come with restoring deserved authors from the Renaissance through critical and historical editions.

Donald Beecher's profile page

Travis DeCook is an associate professor in the Department of English at Carleton University.

Travis DeCook's profile page

Andrew Wallace is an associate professor in the Department of English at Carleton University.

Andrew Wallace's profile page

Grant Williams is an associate professor in the Department of English at Carleton University.

Grant Williams' profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘The editors gather an admirable selection of essays from a range of scholars….Taking Exception to the Law provokes stimulating conversation between legal and literary sources.’

Sixteenth Century Studies vol 47:02:2016

‘Highly recommended’

English Studies in Canada vol 42:3-4:2016

‘Highly recommended’

Choice Magazine, vol 52:12:2015

‘The volume takes its place among lively and rapidly expanding scholarship on early modern law and literature… Such a survey can do little, of course, to give a full sense of the richness of the volume but perhaps can tantalize readers with the variety of texts and breadth of concepts the authors tackle.’

Renaissance Quarterly vol 69:02:2016

Other titles by Donald Beecher

Other titles by Andrew Wallace