This edition of a classic work of nineteenth-century English jurisprudence (1832), a subject on which Austin eventually had a profound impact, includes the complete and unabridged text of the fifth (1885) and last edition. Biographical synopses supplement a comprehensive introduction and bibliography.
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About the Author
John Austin was born March 3, 1790, at Creeting Mill, Suffolk, England. After five years in the army, Austin began to study law, and from 1818 to 1825 he practiced at the chancery bar. In 1820, he married Sarah Taylor (1793-1867), who translated and edited German and French historical texts, including Leopold von Ranke's HISTORY OF THE POPES (1840) and HISTORY OF THE REFORMATION IN GERMANY (1845) and Francois Guizot's ENGLISH REVOLUTION (1850). Both Austin and his wife were ardent Utilitarians; intimate friends of social theorists Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and his son John Stuart Mill; and much concerned with legal reform. When University College, London, was founded in 1826, Austin was appointed its first professor of jurisprudence. He spent the next two years in Germany studying Roman law and the work of German experts on modern civil law. Austin's first lectures, in 1828, were attended by many distinguished men, but he failed to attract students and eventually he resigned his chair in 1832. In 1834, after delivering a shorter but equally unsuccessful version of his lectures, he abandoned the teaching of jurisprudence. He was appointed to the Criminal Law Commission in 1833 but, finding little support for his opinions, resigned in frustration after signing its first two reports. In 1836 he was appointed a commissioner on the affairs of Malta. The Austins then lived abroad, chiefly in Paris, until 1848, when they settled in Surrey, where John Austin died at Weybridge in December 1859. Austin's best-known work, a version of part of his lectures, is THE PROVINCE OF JURISPRUDENCE DETERMINED, published in 1832. Defining the sphere of ethics and law, it came to revolutionize English views on the subject, and was welcomed by American jurists such as J.C. Gray and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
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