A Life of H. L. A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream by Nicola Lacey

By Nicola Lacey

H.L.A. Hart was once the pre-eminent felony thinker of the 20 th century. As a student he single-handedly reinvented the philosophy of legislations and revolutionized our realizing of legislations as a social establishment. Hart's method of criminal philosophy used to be instantaneously disarmingly easy and breathtakingly bold, combining the insights of the Utilitarian culture and the hot linguistic philosophy of J.L. Austin and Ludwig Wittgenstein. He sought to clarify an idea of legislation that will be of relevance to all sorts of legislations, anyplace or at any time when they arose.

This ebook is either an highbrow and a mental biography, following his existence from modest origins because the son of Jewish tailor mom and dad in Yorkshire to around the globe popularity because the so much influential English-speaking felony theorist of the post-War period. It strains his successive metamorphoses; from Yorkshire schoolboy to Oxford pupil, winning barrister, intelligence officer, thinker, and, eventually, Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford.

Nicola Lacey attracts upon Hart's formerly unpublished diaries and letters to bare a posh inside existence. Outwardly winning, Hart was once in truth suffering from doubts approximately his highbrow talents, his sexual id and his means to shape shut relationships. Her biography additionally sheds interesting gentle at the origins of his principles, and assesses his total contribution to the philosophy of legislation. peculiarly, it's a chronicle of a lifestyles which made an effect some distance more than many people realize.

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Ronald Dworkin 28. Herbert reading on the terrace at Lamledra 29. Walking in Cornwall: Herbert, Charlie, and friend, 1967 30. Jacob conversing with his teacher, Joy Fuller, flanked by Jean Austin (left) and Herbert’s sister Sybil in the garden at Manor Place, 1970s 31. Herbert in Athens 32. Reality and representation: Herbert seated beneath his portrait by Derek Hill as Principal of Brasenose (1977) 33. Herbert enjoys a relaxed social occasion at Brasenose… 34. Herbert in his room abutting the Fellows’ garden at University College, mid-1970s 35.

Hart’s approach to legal philosophy was at once disarmingly simple and breathtakingly ambitious. His first single-authored book, The Concept of Law, claimed to provide—in the space of a mere 250 pages—a general, descriptive theory of law: an account of the actual as opposed to the ideal nature of law. In doing so, he aspired to make a contribution both to ‘analytical jurisprudence’ and to ‘descriptive sociology’. In other words, he aimed to set out a concept of law which would illuminate all forms of law, wherever or whenever they arose.

Lawyers—England—Biography. I. Title. L33 2004 340'. vi) And there goes Professor Hart striding enlightened by the years through the doorway and arcade he built (in his mind) and knows—he too saw the ruins of Yucatán once— Allen Ginsberg, ‘Sather Gate Illumination’, 1955 Some discouragement, some faintness of heart at the new real future which replaces the imaginary, is not unusual, and we do not expect people to be deeply moved by what is not unusual. That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it.

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