Professor Susanna Blumenthal
Susanna Blumenthal
William Prosser Professor of Law and Professor of History
Co-Director of the Program in Law and History

Prof. Blumenthal's Book Reviewed in Los Angeles Review of Books

Berkeley Law School Professor Meir-Dan Cohen reviewed Law and the Modern Mind, by Professor Susanna Blumenthal, in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Professor Cohen reads the book as a sign of "our era’s ongoing fixation with Enlightenment ideas" and praises Blumenthal for her exploration of the "various fault lines, conundrums, and blind alleys" of this intellectual tradition. Among the book's merits, he points in particular to its staging of the law's confrontation with the problem of mental unsoundness: "Law and the Modern Mind traces variations of the insanity theme as it plays out in each legal field. Though the book is by no means a technical lawyers’ manual, Blumenthal is a sure-footed guide through this doctrinal thicket; just as importantly, she narrates gripping human stories from the era’s legal treatises, as well as those that unravel with greater vividness in court proceedings." Although focused on the historical record, he concludes, the questions about the limits of human freedom and responsibility at the center of Law and the Modern Mind remain as debatable as ever and the book helps to illuminate "the challenges facing enlightened humanism in our day."