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Introductory Letter, 1 Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities vii (1988)


"You have never read Tacitus?" Justice Hugo Black said to me on the second day of my clerkship with him, "Why, then, you are not a lawyer." He made me drop all else until I had read his own highly and very personally annotated Tacitus. Kant and Bentham continue to battle through the casebooks today as they did when Baron Bramwell in the 1870s said that for the convenience of mankind people must put up with such mischief as due care cannot avoid. Was Captain Vere really modelled on Melville's father-in-law, the great Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw, and was Lemuel Shaw himself greatly influenced by his complicated affine? Do Edwin Meese and Robert Bork have anything to learn from the fact that Athol Fugard's "The Blood Knot" was a dramatically different play a generation ago, when Fugard first acted and directed the play in South Africa, from when he acted and directed it in New Haven recently—even though the words spoken remained the same?

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