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Do law and literature really have anything to say to each other? Until now, that threshold question has vexed law and literature studies.
This revolutionary work provides a bold new answer, showing how law and literature spring from the same cultural impulses. Drawing on the archetypal criticism of Northrop Frye, the book takes a unique, quasi-scientific approach to the subject, covering both law in literature and law as literature.
The Structures of Law and Literature moves beyond the works usually studied in the field (Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka, Herman Melville, Harper Lee) to consider traditional ballads, the biblical narratives of Moses and Job, literature from South Africa and France, as well as works in Yiddish and Hebrew, the poetry of W.B. Yeats, stories by John Updike, John Mortimer, and John Sayles, Scottish nationalist writing by James Kelman, the golem legend from the Talmud to modern novels, and more. It also investigates legalese as a dialect in a universe of its own making, provides a concise summary of the entire method proposed, and concludes with essays on selected works that render the method's application particularly graphic.
Original and systematically argued, The Structures of Law and Literature is a provocative work that adds new dimensions to the cultural interplay of law and the humanities.