George Chapman, Edward Coke and 'mitior sensus'

‘This talk will explore the biographical connections and also the intellectual sympathies between the playwright and poet George Chapman (c. 1559-1634) and the jurist Edward Coke (1552-1634). I will then turn to an examination of Chapman’s sophisticated and creative engagement with contemporary legal debates and questions of jurisprudence in several works dating from the late 1610s, in particular his Tragedy of Chabot, and to his interest in the concept of mitior sensus (the softer or more lenient sense), a legal principle upon which Chapman relied both as defendant in a 1603 libel suit and as a poet later accused of slander.’