From The New Rambler: Rebecca Lemon on Stephanie Elsky’s Custom, Common Law, and the Constitution of English Renaissance Literature @srelsky @TheNewRambler @ArsScripta
Rebecca Lemon reviews Stephanie Elsky’s Custom, Common Law, and the Constitution of English Renaissance Literature (Oxford University Press, 2020) here for the New Rambler.
Lemon says in part,
Custom, Elsky writes, “does not rely upon—even rejects—the possibility of historical consciousness because it refuses to recognize the pastness of the past” (14). This challenge to the “pastness of the past” undermines the breaks and ruptures—the epistemic shifts—that we usually associate with periodization. Grounding her study in an extensive excavation of the uses of custom, Elsky illuminates the surprising range of possibility—specifically literary possibility—within this familiar concept.