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A pioneer of the the new law and literature movement narrates its central vision, which he calls poethics: the revival of jurisprudence through literary sources and techniques. He argues that lawyers, like novelists, must use language that is precise, passionate and real, in order to tell their stories clearly and persuasively.
First introduced in the text is the central concept of poethics, then readings of legalistic themes in major literary works by Shakespeare, Dickens, Faulkner, Barth, Twain, Kafka and Morrison, among others, are analyzed. Later chapters move to the stories that lawyers tell, specifically focusing on Vichy France as a case study.
Weisberg asks what caused the literary and legal acceptance - and even furtherance - of Nazi policies in wartime France, where both narrative fields found it possible to avoid the central reality of racial persecution.