Prof. Tim Stretton: Usury, Equity and Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice"

Apr 11, 2013
4:30 PM
Adamson Auditorium - Baker Hall 136 A

The Pittsburgh Consortium for Medieval & Renaissance Studies presents Dr. Tim Stretton, Prof of History at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Scholars seeking legal contexts for The Merchant of Venice often focus on Elizabethan concerns about the evils of charging interest on loans and the rivalry between English common law and equity. In this lecture, Dr. Stretton questions both of these associations by examining litigation patterns from the time and suggests alternative social and economic, rather than legal, developments that gave the play its topicality.

Dr. Stretton specializes in the social history of law and litigation in Britain, with a focus on the legal rights and experiences of women, and in the intersections between law and literature in early modern England. His book, Women Waging Law in Elizabethan England (Cambridge University Press, 1998) uses legal sources, literary texts, and the records of the Court of Requests to examine how female litigants used the law, as well as fell victim to it. He is currently researching the history of coverture (the legal condition of married women) from the 16th century through to the early 20th century.

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Last modified: Feb 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM EST
Date created: Feb 22, 2013