Law and Literature Criticism: Fiction Critiquing The Law - Essay

Wen-Chi Lin (essay date spring-summer 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lin, Wen-Chi. “Law and (Anti-)Colonialism in A Passage to India.Tamkang Review 25, no. 3-4 (spring-summer 1995): 362-75.

[In the following essay, Lin discusses the role of the central legal case in A Passage to India in terms of Forster's depiction of the “oftentimes self-contradictory role law plays in the colonial context.”]

E. M. Forster's A Passage to India has not been a novel known for its observation of colonial politics. Critical attentions have been drawn more to issues of its aesthetic form like structure and language, reflecting the dominant critical trend of the New Criticism, Structuralism, and Deconstruction as the...

(The entire section is 4223 words.)

William Pencak (essay date 1996)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pencak, William. “Swift Justice: Gulliver's Travels as a Critique of Legal Institutions.” In Law and Literature Perspectives, edited by Bruce L. Rockwood, pp. 255-67. New York: Peter Lang, 1996.

[In the following essay, Pencak comments on Swift's Gulliver's Travels as a critique of English legal injustices but emphasizes that neither anger nor utopian thinking prove useful for Gulliver, but only working within the realities of the present system.]

Gulliver's Travels ends with a paradox. Gulliver wrote the book for the Publick Good, the only words so capitalized in the entire text, “for who can read the virtues I have mentioned in the...

(The entire section is 4834 words.)

Kieran Dolin (essay date 1999)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Dolin, Kieran. “Reformist Critique in the Mid-Victorian ‘Legal Novel’—Bleak House.” In Fiction and the Law: Legal Discourse in Victorian and Modernist Literature, pp. 71-96. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

[In the following essay, Dolin focuses on Dickens's criticism of the court of Chancery and its inheritance laws as exhibited in Bleak House.]

A reviewer of the first number of Bleak House anticipated that Jarndyce and Jarndyce would “doubtless be a famous cause—and take its future place beside the Common Pleas case of Bardell v Pickwick in the Law Reports of Fiction.”1 This prediction has proved true in...

(The entire section is 12306 words.)

Kieran Dolin (essay date 1999)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Dolin, Kieran. “Freedom, Uncertainty, and Diversity—The Critique of Imperialist Law in A Passage to India.” In Fiction and the Law: Legal Discourse in Victorian and Modernist Literature, pp. 169-92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

[In the following essay, Dolin explores A Passage to India as Forster's critique of British imperialist law and specifically of the policy of “Anglicization.”]

English law and English literature were closely, yet variously connected during Britain's imperial domination of India. Anglo-Indians—the English who lived and worked in India—have been enrolled in the “configuration of law and...

(The entire section is 11244 words.)