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Miller, William Ian

Thomas G. Long Professor of Law

411 Hutchins Hall

Bill Miller, the Thomas G. Long Professor of Law, has been a member of the Michigan Law faculty since 1984. His research centers on saga Iceland, from whence the materials studied in his course Bloodfeuds and which provides the sources for his Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga Iceland (1990). He also has written about emotions, mostly unpleasant ones involving self-assessment, and select vices and virtues. Thus his books: Humiliation (1993); The Anatomy of Disgust (1997)—named the best book of 1997 in anthropology/sociology by the Association of American Publishers; The Mystery of Courage (2000); Faking It (2003), which deals with anxieties of role, identity, and posturings of authenticity; and Losing It (2011), where he turns a jaundiced eye toward aging and decline. The Chicago Tribune named Losing It to its list of best books of the year; Macleans magazine of Canada also listed it in its top 10 nonfiction books of 2011. Eye for an Eye (2006) is an extended treatment of the law of the talion. Audun and the Polar Bear: Luck, Law, and Largesse in a Medieval Tale of Risky Business (2008) offers an expansive interpretation of a superbly crafted short Icelandic tale. "Why is your axe bloody:" A Reading of Njáls Saga is exactly what the subtitle indicates; yet another book on a saga, Hrafnkel or the Ambiguities: Hard Cases, Hard Choices, appeared in 2017. He earned his BA from the University of Wisconsin and received both a PhD in English and a JD from Yale. He also has been a visiting professor at Yale, the University of Chicago, the University of Bergen, the University of Tel Aviv, and Harvard, and in 2008, was the Carnegie Centenary Trust Professor at the University of St. Andrews, where he is now also an honorary professor of history.

Video: Professor Miller discusses his book Losing It.

Visit Professor Miller's homepage.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

Outrageous Fortune: Gloomy Reflections on Luck and Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

​"Dégoût." In  Passions Sociales. 1st ed., edited by Gloria Origgi, 162-8. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2019.

Hrafnkel or the Ambiguities: Hard Cases, Hard Choices. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.

"Where's Iceland?" In The Making of Europe: Essays in Honour of Robert Bartlett, edited by J. Hudson and S. Crumplin, 76-95. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2016.
Full Text: Brill (UMich users) | Brill

"Do I disgust you? (or, rather, you me?) – Mes frères, mes sœurs, mes semblables?" In Le dégoût: Histoire, langage, esthétique et politique d'une émotion plurielle, edited by M. Delville, A. Norris, and V. von Hoffmann, 149-61. Liège, Belgium: Presses universitaires de Liège, 2016.​