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Readership: Scholars in Women's (Legal) History, Legal Historians, Scholars and Students in Law and Literature, Literary Historians, Nineteenth Century Social Historians
Saskia Lettmaier, Research Fellow at the University of Regensburg and S.J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School
Saskia Lettmaier is a jurist trained in both Anglo-American and German law. She obtained her B.A. in Jurisprudence from Oxford University in 2002, being awarded a First as well as the St. Anne's College Law Prize. She holds a German law degree, an LL.M. degree from Harvard University (2003) and a doctorate in Cultural Studies from the University of Bamberg (summa cum laude, 2007). She has lectured in law and in Victorian culture at the universities of Bamberg, Erlangen-Nuremberg, and Cork, and
published articles on law as well as on the intersection between law and literature. She is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Regensburg and an S.J.D. Candidate and Fritz Thyssen Scholar at the Harvard Law School, where she also serves on the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender.
"On the whole, Lettmaiers study provides fascinating insights into the construction of an ideal of femininity and its ramifications in legal practice." - Jochen Petzold, Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik Redaktion
"...knowledgable and wide-ranging investigation into the history of the common law action for breach of promise of marriage...she [Lettmaier] has convincingly straddled the disciplinary divide between legal history and literary criticism." - Silvia Mergenthal, Archiv
I: Situating the Project: Law, Cultural Ideology, and Nineteenth-Century Women's History
II: Tools of Analysis: Empiricism and Literature
1: Codifying Womanhood: The Nineteenth-Century Action for Breach of Promise of Marriage as the Legal Expression of the Ideal of True Womanhood
2: A Structural Inconsistency: The True Woman and the Breach-of-Promise Plaintiff
3: Breach of Promise in the Early Nineteenth Century (1800-50): Strategies of Containment, a Created Inconsistency, and the Aesthetic of the Grotesque
4: Breach of Promise in the High Victorian Period (1850-1900): The Inconsistency Unveiled, Pinchbeck Angels, and the Dominance of Satire
5: Breach of Promise in the Post-Victorian Period (1900-40): A Changing Ideal, the Action>'s Decline, and the Symbolism of Breach of Promise
Epilogue: The Power of the Image