Elizabethan Literature and the Law of Fraudulent Conveyance: Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare

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Ashgate Publishing Company, 2003 - Literary Collections - 142 pages
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This book investigates the origins, impact, and outcome of the Elizabethan obsession with fraudulent conveyancing, the part of debtor-creditor law that determines when a court can void a transfer of assets. Focusing on the years between the passage of a key statute in 1571 and the court case that clarified the statute in 1601, Charles Ross convincingly argues that what might seem a minor matter in the law was in fact part of a widespread cultural practice. Debt was more pervasive than sex, at least in the English Common Law.
Ross examines how during the thirty years in which the law developed, Sidney, Spenser, and Shakespeare wrote works that reflect the ethical problem of crafting fair laws against fraudulent conveyancing, which was practiced by unscrupulous debtors but also by those unfairly oppressed by power.
This study connects a major development in the law to the literature of the period, one that makes a contribution not only to the law but to literary studies as well as political and social history.

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About the author (2003)

Charles Ross is Professor of English and Chair of the Program in Comparative Literature at Purdue University.

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