Early English Edition of The Common Law Holmes, Oliver Wendell, Jr. [1841-1935]. The Common Law. London: Macmillan & Co., 1882. [i]-xvi, 422 pp. Octavo (8-1/4" x 5-1/4"). Original russet textured cloth, black rules and triple frames to boards, gilt title to spine triple black-stamped to spine ends. Light rubbing to extremities, spine ends bumped, small nick to top-edge of front board, hinges starting, later repaired tears to title page and following leaf. Light toning to interior, underlining and marks to margins in pencil to several leaves, owner signature in ink (Wolfgang Kraus) to head of title page. $750. * Second English edition. As Friedman points out, "The Common Law was easily the most distinguished book on law by an American published between 1850 and 1900." In contrast to earlier Anglo-American jurists, and the reigning positivist ethos of the nineteenth century, Holmes proposed that the law was not a science founded on abstract principles but a body of practices that responded to particular situations. This functionalist interpretation led to his radical conclusion that law was not discovered, but invented. This radical theme is announced at the beginning of Lecture I: "The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience" (1). Winfield observes that Holmes's "brilliant exposition, as effective on English scholarship and legal thinking as on American, of the true nature of law both as a development from the past and an organism of the present, blew fresh air into lawyer's minds encrusted with Blackstone and Kent." It went on to become a decisive influence on sociological jurisprudence, legal realism and the general development of Anglo-American law in the twentieth century. Luttrell, "Oliver Wendell Holmes and The Common Law," Meyer Boswell Books, Inc., Rare and Unusual Law Books, Catalogue Fourteen 2. Friedman, A History of American Law 544. Winfield, Chief Sources of English Legal History 38. Grolier Club Exhibition, One Hundred Influential American Books 84.
Book number 77382