Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



The history of the two torts of defamation and unwarranted invasion of the right of privacy has been greatly different. Defamation developed over a period of many centuries, with the twin torts of libel and slander having completely separate origins and historical growth. Professor Street summarizes this history by declaring that there was "a perversion of evolutionary processes," with the result that there was produced "a rather heterogeneous pile which should normally have gone to form a consistent body of legal doctrine, but which on the contrary, comprises many disconnected fragments moving in a confused way under the impulse of different principles." He concludes that the verdict which must be reached regarding "this branch of the law" is that it was "marred in the making." Efforts at judicial and legislative reform have not proved very successful.