Professor Gerry Simpson's new book, The Sentimental Life of International Law (OUP, 2021), is about our age-old longing for a decent international society and the ways of seeing, being, and speaking that might help us achieve that aim. This book asks how international lawyers might engage in a professional practice that has become, to adapt a title of Janet Malcolm's, both difficult and impossible. It suggests that international lawyers are disabled by the governing idioms of international lawyering, and proposes that they may be re-enabled by speaking different sorts of international law, or by speaking international law in different sorts of ways. In this methodologically diverse and unusually personal account, Gerry Simpson brings to the surface international law's hidden literary prose and offers a critical and redemptive account of the field. He does so in a series of chapters on international law's bathetic underpinnings, its friendly relations, the neurotic foundations of its underlying social order, its screened-off comic dispositions, its anti-method, and the life-worlds of its practitioners. Finally, the book closes with a chapter in which international law is re-envisioned through the practice of gardening. All of this is put forward as a contribution to the project of making international law, again, a compelling language for our times.
click here for publisher's site