Prefaces and Authorship in International Law: The Example of Vitoria's 'De Indis'

W.G. Werner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article, I study the role of prefatory texts in international law. Based on Gerard Genette’s analysis of paratexts, I examine how prefaces shape the expectations of the reader through indications of genre, method and authorship. The first section introduces the notion of ‘paratext’ and provides some illustrations in treaties and documents of the International Court of Justice. The second section focuses specifically on a work that has broadly been regarded as foundational for the discipline of international law: Vitoria’s De Indis Et De Iure Belli. Through its analysis of paratext, this article provides a new lens on textual products and the creation of authorship in international law.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)58-78
Number of pages21
JournalLaw Text Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • paratext, prefaces, authorship, international law


Dive into the research topics of 'Prefaces and Authorship in International Law: The Example of Vitoria's 'De Indis''. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this