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A Charmed Spectacle: England and its Constitutional Imagination

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian Ward


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This article argues that the fate of England - a subject of increasing contemporary interest - is inexorably linked to that of its constitution. Englishness is an impression, one that is rooted in its constitutional imagination, a bundle of impression and images, which can be found, not merely in statutes and cases, but in a myriad texts and treatises. The first part of the article concentrates on the constitutional imagination fashioned by the likes of Hooker and Spenser in the wake of the Henrician and Elizabethan settlements. The second part then looks at the frantic efforts of men such as Burke and Wordsworth to reinvest this imagination in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The final part of the article suggests that the 'charmed spectacle' of the constitution, as Bagehot terms it, still represents a formidable residual strength against which any mooted constitutional reforms must be measured. © 2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ward I

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Liverpool Law Review

Year: 2000

Volume: 22

Issue: 2-3

Pages: 235-251

Print publication date: 01/01/2000

ISSN (print): 0144932X

ISSN (electronic): 1572-8625

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1023/A:1010660706358


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