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Parution : 10/2018
Editeur : Springer
ISBN : 978-3-3199-6862-9
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Legal Literacy in Premodern European Societies

Sous la direction de Mia Korpiola


This book analyses the legal literacy, knowledge and skills of people in premodern and modernizing Europe. It examines how laymen belonging both to the common people and the elite acquired legal knowledge and skills, how they used these in advocacy and legal writing and how legal literacy became an avenue for social mobility. Taking a comparative approach, contributors consider the historical contexts of England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden.

This book is divided into two main parts. The first part discusses various groups of legal literates (scriveners, court of appeal judges and advocates) and their different paths to legal literacy from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century. The second part analyses the rise of the ownership and production of legal literature – especially legal books meant for laymen – as means for acquiring a degree of legal literacy from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century.


Mia Korpiola is Professor of Legal History at the University of Turku, Finland. She has (co-)edited several books, including Regional Variations in Matrimonial Law and Custom in Europe, 1150-1600 (2011), The Svea Court of Appeal in the Early Modern Period (2014) and Planning for Death: Wills and Death-Related Property Arrangements in Europe, 1200-1600 (2018).



Mia Korpiola, Introduction, p. 1-16

Kitrina Bevan, Legal Education in Late Medieval England: How Did Provincial Scriveners Learn Their Law?, p. 19-41

Anette Baumann, The Imperial Chamber Court (1495–1806) as an Educational and Training Institution, p. 43-58

Marianne Vasara-Aaltonen, Legal Learning of Various Kinds: Swedish Court of Appeal Judges in the Seventeenth Century, p. 59-87

Petteri Impola, The Agency and Practical Learning of a Lay Advocate in Seventeenth-Century Helsinki: The Case of Gabriel Abrahamsson, p. 89-118

Anna Kuismin, Ideal Types and Odd Men Out: Legal Literacy and Social Mobility in Nineteenth-Century Finland, p. 119-144

Mia Korpiola, Legal Literates in Eighteenth-Century Swedish Towns: Evidence of Book Ownership in Estate Inventories (Helsinki, Oulu, Porvoo, and Kokkola), p. 147-189

Annamaria Monti, Popular Legal Manuals as Sources and Mechanisms of Acquiring Legal Literacy, p. 191-209

Laetitia Guerlain (et al.), Acquiring Legal Literacy by Reading: Popular Legal Literature in Nineteenth-Century France, p. 211-252

264 pages.  105,49 €