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Exhibition: 250 Years of Blackstone’s Commentaries

250 Years of Blackstone’s Commentaries

Date/Time: 8.30am-5.00pm Monday to Friday from 10 December 2015 to 19 February 2016

Location: Sir John Salmond Law Library, Ligertwood Building, the University of Adelaide North Terrace campus.

Cost: Free – open to all

Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England is the focus of a free public exhibition, celebrating 250 years of this landmark publication.

Originally published from 1765-1769, Blackstone’s Commentaries became the basic reference work on law and parliamentary government in much of the western world. The book continued to be used in law schools well into the 20th century, and is still a significant legal authority, especially in the USA, but also in Australia.

The exhibition casts new light on the publication, dissemination and impact of a legal classic which is still going strong today. It illustrates the origins of Blackstone’s Commentaries and the way this seminal text was published, marketed, studied, debated, disseminated, appropriated, parodied, criticised and satirized over the past two and a half centuries’

The exhibition comes to the University of Adelaide from the Yale Law School Library and is curated by:

Wilfrid Prest, Professor Emeritus, University of Adelaide Law School; and Michael Widener, Rare Book Librarian, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

This exhibition heralds a new Oxford Edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries, whose General Editor is also Professor Wilfrid Prest. The Oxford edition will offer the definitive account of the Commentaries’ development in a modern format. For the first time it is possible to trace the evolution of English law and Blackstone’s thought through the eight editions of Blackstone’s lifetime, and the corrections of the posthumous ninth edition.

Contact: Professor Wilfrid Prest, ARC Australian Professorial Fellow, Law School/School of History and Politics, University of Adelaide, Business: 08 8313 5883

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