Law and Literature Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

Ian Ward (essay date 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ward, Ian. “Law and Literature: A Continuing Debate.” In Law and Literature: Possibilities and Perspectives, pp. 3-27. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

[In the following essay, Ward summarizes the history and evolution of the scholarly debate regarding law and literature, noting key ideas and critics.]

Students seek out good teaching to learn not the rules but the culture, for the rules are everywhere the same.1

The purpose of this introductory chapter is essentially synoptic. Indeed there is a very tangible sense in which, after more than a decade of the renewed law and literature...

(The entire section is 11541 words.)

Ian Ward (essay date 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ward, Ian. “Law and Justice in the Modern Novel: The Concept of Responsibility.” In Law and Literature: Possibilities and Perspectives, pp. 142-56. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

[In the following essay, Ward explores Kafka's The Trial and Camus's The Outsider as texts useful in the literary and legal study of the concept of responsibility.]

There is no doubt that modern literature has been more extensively used by law and literature scholars than any other literary source. It does not, then, represent a particularly new perspective. There are, of course, certain contemporary ‘modern’ texts which are fresh, and I will look at...

(The entire section is 5641 words.)

Bruce L. Rockwood (essay date 1996)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rockwood, Bruce L. “Introduction: On Doing Law and Literature.” In Law and Literature Perspectives, edited by Bruce L. Rockwood, pp. 2-38. New York: Peter Lang, 1996.

[In the following essay, Rockwood surveys recent critical approaches to the study of law and literature and suggests that the two disciplines together can be helpful in understanding the moral complexities of the postmodern world.]

Despite its deep roots in culture and civilization, in the last decade of the twentieth century law and literature is still a relatively new and emerging field of study.1 It is a distinct discipline, and a true “interdiscipline,” involving fundamental...

(The entire section is 16420 words.)

Gregg D. Crane (essay date winter 1997)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Crane, Gregg D. “The Path of Law and Literature.” American Literary History 9, no. 4 (winter 1997): 758-75.

[In the following essay, Crane discusses the extent to which literature and law interact and are capable of influencing each other and evaluates three recent studies of that subject.]

In the Library of Congress's small collection of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney's papers, I recently happened upon the fragmentary beginnings of an essay on slavery and antebellum sectional hostility. Apparently written on the eve of the Civil War, the anonymous author laments the election of Abraham Lincoln and condemns “free state aggression” upon the nation's...

(The entire section is 7436 words.)

Daniel J. Kornstein (essay date winter 1998)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kornstein, Daniel J. “A Practicing Lawyer Looks Back on Law and Literature.” Cardozo Studies in Law and Literature 10, no. 2 (winter 1998): 117-19.

[In the following essay, Kornstein presents a brief summary of literature and law study over the past two decades, emphasizing that the future of the discipline lies in engaging the interest of actual practitioners of law.]

Law and Literature has much to be proud of. In two decades or so, it has grown from an abstract idea to a contemporary school of jurisprudence. It has started to permeate the legal consciousness. It is taught in colleges as well as law schools. It has produced an expanding body of writing...

(The entire section is 994 words.)

Richard A. Posner (essay date 1998)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Posner, Richard A. “The Reflection of Law in Literature.” In Law and Literature, revised and enlarged edition, pp. 11-48. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998.

[In the following essay, Posner argues, citing numerous examples of fiction that encompass legal issues, that the law figures in literary works as a metaphor rather than as the center of thematic interest.]

Law is so common a subject of literature that one is tempted to infer a deep affinity between the two fields, giving the lawyer privileged access if not to the whole body of literature then at least to those works that are explicitly about law. But I shall argue that the frequency of legal...

(The entire section is 18398 words.)

Kieran Dolin (essay date 1999)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Dolin, Kieran. “The Modern Western Nomos.” In Fiction and the Law: Legal Discourse in Victorian and Modernist Literature, pp. 21-44. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

[In the following essay, Dolan explores the cultural and philosophical context which enabled a connection between literature and law in the post-Enlightenment European tradition.]

The study of fictional representations of law demands a contextual criticism. In this chapter I attempt to establish this context for the subsequent analysis of my chosen novels by presenting a short account of the intellectual and social history of European law since the eighteenth century. The...

(The entire section is 11035 words.)