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The public's fascination with the human drama of the courtroom did not begin with Perry Mason or Court TV. Cases involving the relationships between men and women, within or outside the bonds of marriage, have long engaged the popular imagination. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, published accounts of sensational trials provided the public with both entertainment and cautionary tales. Studies in Scarlet presents the images of over 420 separately published trial narratives from the Harvard Law School Library's extensive trial collections.

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Henry of Bratton (Henricus de Brattona or Bractona) was an English judge of the court known as coram rege (later King's Bench) from 1247-50 and again from 1253-57. After his retirement in 1257, he continued to serve on judicial commissions. He was also a clergyman, having various benefices, the last of which being the chancellorship of Exeter cathedral, where he was buried in 1268.

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