Synopses & Reviews
H.L.A. Hart was the pre-eminent legal philosopher of the twentieth century. As a scholar he single-handedly reinvented the philosophy of law and revolutionized our understanding of law as a social institution. Hart's approach to legal philosophy was at once disarmingly simple and breathtakingly ambitious, combining the insights of the Utilitarian tradition and the new linguistic philosophy of J.L. Austin and Ludwig Wittgenstein. He sought to elucidate a concept of law that would be of relevance to all forms of law, wherever or whenever they arose.
This book is both an intellectual and a psychological biography, following his life from modest origins as the son of Jewish tailor parents in Yorkshire to worldwide fame as the most influential English-speaking legal theorist of the post-War era. It traces his successive metamorphoses; from Yorkshire schoolboy to Oxford scholar, successful barrister, intelligence officer, philosopher, and, finally, Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford.
Nicola Lacey draws upon Hart's previously unpublished diaries and letters to reveal a complex interior life. Outwardly successful, Hart was in fact tormented by doubts about his intellectual abilities, his sexual identity and his capacity to form close relationships. Her biography also sheds fascinating light on the origins of his ideas, and assesses his overall contribution to the philosophy of law. Above all, it is a chronicle of a life which made an impact far greater than many of us realize.
About the Author
is Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the London School of Economics and Adjunct Professor of Social and Political Theory at the Research School of Social Sciences of the Australian National University. She is a Fellow of the British Academy.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Biographer's Note on Approach and Sources
Introduction: An Outsider on the Inside
Part I: North and South
1: Harrogate, Cheltenham, Bradford
2: An Oxford Scholar
3: Success Snatched from Defeat: London and the Bar
Part II: Change and Continuity
5: From the Inns of Court to Military Intelligence: MI5, Marriage, and Fatherhood
6: Oxford from the Other Side of the Fence
Part III: The Golden Age
7: Selling Philosophy to the Lawyers: The Chair of Jurisprudence
8: American Jurisprudence through English Eyes: Harvard 1956-7
9: Law in the Perspective of Philosophy: Causation and the Law, The Concept of Law
10: West and East, California and Israel: Law, Liberty and Morality; Kelsen Visited; The Morality of the Criminal Law
11: Discipline, Punishment, and Responsibility
Part IV: After the Chair
12: Old Turks and Young Fogeys: Bentham and Brasenose
13: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream
Bibliography: HLA Hart
Bibliography: Other authors
List of Interviewees
Biographical details on figures appearing in the book