In this groundbreaking study, Christopher Warren argues that early modern literary genres were deeply tied to debates about global legal order and that todayas international law owes many of its most basic suppositions to early modern literary culture. Literature and the Law of Nations shows how the separation of scholarship on law from scholarship on literature has limited the understanding of international law on both sides.
Warren suggests thatboth literary and legal scholars have tacitly accepted tendentious but politically consequential assumptions about whether international law is areala law. Literature and the Law of Nations recognizes the specific nature of early modern international law by showing how major writers of the EnglishRenaissance-including Shakespeare, Milton, and Hobbes-deployed genres like epic, tragedy, comedy, tragicomedy, and history to shore up the canonical subjects and objects of modern international law.
Warren demonstrates how Renaissance literary genres informed modern categories like public international law, private international law, international legal personality, and human rights.
Students and scholars of Renaissance literature, intellectual history, the history of international law, andthe history of political thought will find in Literature and the Law of Nations a rich interdisciplinary argument that challenges the usual accounts by charting a new literary history of international law.