Law and Literature: Text and Theory

Front Cover
Routledge, Jun 3, 2015 - Literary Criticism - 518 pages
First published in 1996. The first anthology of its kind in this dynamic new field of study, this volume offers students the best of both worlds-theory and literature. Organized around specific themes to facilitate use of the text in a variety of courses, the material is highly accessible to undergraduates and is suitable as well for graduate students and law students. The anthology includes important articles by key figures in the law and literature debate, and presents seven thematically arranged sections that:

Survey the various theoretical perspectives that inform the relationship of law and literature
Examine the interplay of ethics, law, and justice * Highlight the great scope and variety of the law's contributions to the creation of a world view * Illustrate various legal approaches to punishment * Detail and analyze the law's inherent capacity for the oppression of individuals and groups * Demonstrate that law is grounded in language and storytelling * Show that despite its solemnity, the law has a comic side
Each section includes excerpts from poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction. The excerpts include writings addressing the law's impact on the "outsider" (women, Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, and homosexuals), as well as writings by lawyers, judges, and law professors, giving the reader an "insider's" view of the legal system. The selections range from Plato to John Barth and Wallace Stevens. At this time of increased interest in the quality of legal writing, this course material illustrates the importance of language, word choice, metaphor, and narrative. It demonstrates the practical application of literary effects, techniques, and devices, and provides valuable insights into law as a vital component of the social fabric.

SPECIAL FEATURES All law schools that do not already have one in place are required to institute a course in Law and Literature. This new anthology is the first of its kind, and has been specifically designed to meet the requirements of a Law and Literature course * Selections from judges, lawyers, and professors of law give students an insider's view of the legal system * Chronological coverage-from Plato to such 20th-century writers as John Barth and Wallace Stevens-offers students a broad range of selections that examine the relationship between law, justice, ethics, and literature * Multicultural writings address the law's capacity for the oppression of individuals and groups, including women, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, and homosexuals * Law and punishment-several selections examine this area from various points of view. Suitable for courses in: Law and literature courses in law schools and undergraduate divisions as well as interdisciplinary courses in English literature.

From inside the book


Critical Contexts
Section II Law Justice and Ethics
Section III Law and Worldview
Section IV Law and Punishment
Race Class Gender and Sexuality
Section VI Law Language and Narrative Structure
Section VII Law and Comedy

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About the author (2015)

Lenora Ledwon holds a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame. She teaches law and literature and legal writing at Mercer Law School in Macon, Georgia, and has published articles in various journals.

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