Literature and Law


Volume Editor:
In recent years, there has been a continuing and persistent world-wide interest in the interaction between the two disciplines of law and literature. Although there have been many collections of primary texts that combined these two areas, this volume presents literary analyses and criticism in an attempt to assess the varied relationships between law and justice, between lawyers and clients, and between readers’ perceptions and authors’ intent, hopefully suggesting why they have continually been yoked together. One similarity between the two is that lawyers, like writers, must catch their audience’s attention by novelty of scene, distinctiveness of voice, and ingenuity of design. Furthermore, legal advocates must recreate a concrete sense of reality, developing vivid and valid pictures of a specific time and place. In short, both lawyers and writers attempt to provide a basis for juries / readers to judge defendants / characters by their motivations and their actions and to decide whether a favorable ruling / assessment is justified. Collectively, the essays in this book are designed to deal with themes of guilt and innocence, right and wrong, morality and legality. The essays also suggest that the world as it is delineated by lawyers is indeed a text that like its literary counterparts sometimes blurs the distinction between fact and fiction as it attempts to define “truth” and to establish criteria for “impartial” justice. By exploring interdisciplinary contexts, readers will surely be made more aware, more sensitive to the roles that stories play in the legal profession and to the dilemmas faced by legal systems that often succeed in maintaining the rights and privileges of a dominant societal group at the expense of a less powerful one.

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Mary Ann FRESE WITT and Eric WITT: Retrying The Stranger Again
Susan AYRES: The Silent Voices of the Law
Karen C. BLANSFIELD: Law and Order: Exploring the British Legal System in David Hare’s Murmuring Judges
Jenifer CUSHMAN: Criminal Apprehensions: Prague Minorities and The Habsburg Legal System in Jaroslav Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk and Franz Kafka’s The Trial
Gwen McNEILL ASHBURN: Silence in the Courtroom: Language, Literature, and Law in The Ballad of Frankie Silver
Deborah HECHT: Representing Lawyers: Edith Wharton’s Portrayal of Lawyers and Lawyering In The Touchstone and Summer
Eric STERLING: Ritual Murder and the Corruption of Law in Bernard Malamud’s The Fixer
Beth WIDMAIER CAPO: “How Shall We Change the Law?”: Birth Control Rhetoric and the Modern American Narrative
Joseph SUGLIA: Putting God on Trial: The Relationship of Kafka to Leibniz
Brian CONNIFF: Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Live from Death Row as Post-Legal Prison Writing
Ana María FRAILÉ-MARCOS: The Letter of the Law and Canadian Letters: Joy Kogawa’s Obasan
Alicia RENFROE: Prior Claims and Sovereign Rights: The Sexual Contract in Edith Wharton’s Summer
Nancy LAWSON REMLER and Hugh LAWSON: Situating Atticus in the Zone: A Lawyer and His Daughter Read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
Gwen MATHEWSON: Challenging the Court: Charles Chesnutt’s Marrow of Tradition
About the Authors
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