“The Brethren of the Long Robe”: Legal Satire and Courtroom Humor

  • Randall Craig


Apart from marrying one and then having him fling his copy of Blackstone at her, Norton could not have expected to have a great deal to do with attorneys or their law books. Her husband’s accusation of adultery in 1836, however, began what would prove to be a lengthy and generally unhappy exposure to legal processes and players, an exposure not terminated even by her husband’s death in 1875. While not expecting the terms of his will to be favorable, she was shocked to learn that their sole surviving son had been disinherited. Their legal wrangles thus continued from the grave, further justifying her comment that “the accursed tribe of Lawyers have had their fangs in me… and I can’t get away.”3


Attorney General Sexual Misconduct Beautiful Woman General Hilarity Break Promise 
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  1. 2.
    W. S. Gilbert, Utopia Limited, The Complete Annotated Gilbert and Sullivan, ed. Ian Bradley (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 1029.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    Christine L. Krueger, “Witnessing Women: Trial Testimony in Novels by Tonna, Gaskell, and Eliot,” in Representing Women: Law, Literature, and Feminism, ed. Susan Sage Heinzelman and Zipporah Batshaw Wiseman (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994), 340.Google Scholar
  3. 27.
    See Percy Fitzgerald, Bardell v. Pickwick (London: Elliot Stock, 1902), as well asGoogle Scholar
  4. Randall Craig, Promising Language: Betrothal in Victorian Law and Fiction (Albany: SUNY Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  5. 44.
    See Charles J. MacColla, Breach of Promise: Its History and Social Considerations (London: Pickering, 1879).Google Scholar
  6. 46.
    See Alan Fischler, Modified Rapture: Comedy in W. S. Gilbert’s Savoy Operas (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991), 56.Google Scholar

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© Randall Craig 2009

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  • Randall Craig

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