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Vol 23 No 1 Jan/Feb 2018

Book of the Month

Cover of The Law of Privilege

The Law of Privilege

Edited by: Bankim Thanki
Price: £195.00

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The Art of Alibi: English Law Courts and the Novel

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ISBN13: 9780801867552
ISBN: 080186755X
Published: March 2002
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Country of Publication: USA
Format: Hardback
Price: £29.50

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Jonathan Grossman reconstructs the relation of the novel to 19th-century law courts. During the Romantic era, courthouses and trial scenes frequently found their way into the plots of English novels. As Grossman states, ""by the Victorian period, these scenes represented a powerful intersection of narrative form with a complementary and competing structure for storytelling.""

He argues that the courts, newly fashioned as a site in which to orchestrate voices and reconstruct stories, arose as a cultural presence influencing the shape of the English novel. Weaving examinations of novels such as William Godwin's ""Caleb Williams"", Mary Shelley's ""Frankenstein"", and Charles Dickens's ""The Pickwick Papers"" and ""Oliver Twist"", along with a reading of the new Royal Courts of Justice, Grossman charts the exciting changes occurring within the novel, especially crime fiction, that preceded and led to the invention of the detective mystery in the 1840s.

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General Interest