Kelsen published this short treatise in 1934, when the neo-Kantian influence on his work was at its zenith. An earlier "constructivist" phase, evident in his Habilitationsschrift of 1911, had been displaced over the course of the following decade by his effort, albeit in fits and starts, to provide something approximating a neo-Kantian foundation for his theory. If this second, neo-Kantian phase represents the Pure Theory of Law in its most characteristic form, then the present treatise may well be its central text, and of Kelsen's many statements of the Pure Theory, this one is surely the most accessible.
Topics include the legal norm and Kelsen's normativity thesis, law and morality, the role of ideology, the concept of the legal person, the legal system and hierarchical structure, legal interpretation, the identity of law and state, and the theory of international law. Among the appendices to the volume is an annotated bibliography of secondary literature on Kelsen.