The Death of Contract

Second Edition

Grant Gilmore
Edited by Ronald K. L. Collins

“Anyone interested in the fate of modern law will want to ponder the large and provocative claims advanced in this witty and insightful book.” —Anthony T. Kronman, Dean, Yale Law School

“Gilmore altered forever the way we look at contract law.” —Dennis Patterson, Rutgers University School of Law

“A timeless book. The Death of Contract is one of the staples of the literature of the common law.” —Richard A. Epstein, University of Chicago Law School

“Gilmore packs an epic into a short impressionistic story of the rise and fall of classical contract. . . . An uncommonly insightful and always engaging work.” —Jean Braucher, College of Law, University of Cincinnati

The Death of Contract is a masterful commentary on the common law, especially the law of promissory obligation known as contracts. In this slim and lively book, the late Yale law professor Grant Gilmore examines the birth, development, death, and even the resurrection of a body of American law. It is both a modern-day reply to and a funeral oration for an American legal classic—Oliver Wendell Holmes’s The Common Law.

This new edition, with an instructive and timely foreword by Ronald K. L. Collins, challenges anyone interested in the life of the law to think about where it has come from and where it is tending. As such, The Death of Contract still retains its vitality in the brave new world of the law known as contracts. A new bibliography of early reviews and new responses reveals how considerable the interest was, and continues to be, in this modern anti-classic.

1995   182 pp.

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