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Lit + Law
New Directions in Law and Literature by Elizabeth S. Anker (Editor); Bernadette Meyler (Editor)After its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, many wondered whether the law and literature movement would retain vitality. This collection of essays, featuring twenty-two prominent scholars from literature departments as well as law schools, showcases the vibrancy of recent work in the field whilehighlighting its many new directions. New Directions in Law and Literature furnishes an overview of where the field has been, its recent past, and its potential futures. Some of the essays examine the methodological choices that have affected the field; among these are concern for globalization, the integration of approaches fromhistory and political theory, the application of new theoretical models from affect studies and queer theory, and expansion beyond text to performance and the image. Others grapple with particular intersections between law and literature, whether in copyright law, competing visions of alternativesto marriage, or the role of ornament in the law's construction of racialized bodies. The volume is designed to be a course book that is accessible to undergraduates and law students as well as relevant to academics with an interest in law and the humanities. The essays are simultaneously intended to be introductory and addressed to experts in law and literature. More than any otherexisting book in the field, New Directions furnishes a guide to the most exciting new work in law and literature while also situating that work within more established debates and conversations.
Publication Date: 2017-06-22
Fatal Fictions by Alison L. LaCroix (Editor); Richard H. McAdams (Editor); Martha C. Nussbaum (Editor)Writers of fiction have always confronted topics of crime and punishment. This age-old fascination with crime on the part of both authors and readers is not surprising, given that criminal justice touches on so many political and psychological themes essential to literature, and comes equippedwith a trial process that contains its own dramatic structure. This volume explores this profound and enduring literary engagement with crime, investigation, and criminal justice. The collected essays explore three themes that connect the world of law with that of fiction. First, defining and punishing crime is one of the fundamental purposes of government,along with the protection of victims by the prevention of crime. And yet criminal punishment remains one of the most abused and terrifying forms of political power. Second, crime is intensely psychological and therefore an important subject by which a writer can develop and explore character. Athird connection between criminal justice and fiction involves the inherently dramatic nature of the legal system itself, particularly the trial. Moreover, the ongoing public conversation about crime and punishment suggests that the time is ripe for collaboration between law and literature in thistroubled domain.The essays in this collection span a wide array of genres, including tragic drama, science fiction, lyric poetry, autobiography, and mystery novels. The works discussed include works as old as fifth-century BCE Greek tragedy and as recent as contemporary novels, memoirs, and mystery novels. Thecumulative result is arresting: there are "killer wives" and crimes against trees; a government bureaucrat who sends political adversaries to their death for treason before falling to the same fate himself; a convicted murderer who doesn't die when hanged; a psychopathogical collector whose quitesane kidnapping victim nevertheless also collects; Justice Thomas' reading and misreading of Bigger Thomas; a man who forgives his son's murderer and one who cannot forgive his wife's non-existent adultery; fictional detectives who draw on historical analysis to solve murders. These essays begin aconversation, and they illustrate the great depth and power of crime in literature.
Publication Date: 2016-12-01
Practice Extended by Robert A. FergusonWritten by a renowned literary critic and legal historian, Practice Extended illuminates the intricacies of legal language and thought and the law's relationship to society, literature, and culture. Robert A. Ferguson details how judicial opinions are written, how legal thought and philosophy inform ideas, and how best to appreciate a courtroom novel. With chapters touching on a wide range of subjects, including immigration, eloquence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Supreme Court case over James Joyce's Ulysses, Practice Extended provides an ambitious argument for the importance of language in law and a much-needed analysis of the often vexed relationship between law and literature. Ferguson challenges the notion of law as a hermetic enterprise only accessible to experts. He reveals the discipline's relationships to history, religion, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and the visual arts, offering a rich account of how the law has shaped and has been shaped by communal thought. He also recognizes the critical role of literature and other outside views in showcasing the social problems that law takes up. Practice Extended reflects Ferguson's crucial role as a pioneer in developing the field of law and literature. His writing reminds us of the need for a critical approach to the law that draws on the insights of literature to better understand political and legal history and the documents, laws, and arguments that shape our present. At the same time, this volume also showcases the ways in which the law has been integrated into works of literature, from Billy Budd to contemporary courtroom thrillers.
A fully searchable edition of the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court.
The Logic of Women on Trial by Janice SchuetzJanice Schuetz investigates the felony trials of nine American women from colonial Salem to the present: Rebecca Nurse, tried for witchcraft in 1692; Mary E. Surratt, tried in 1865 for assisting John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; Lizzie Andrew Borden, tried in 1892 for the ax murder of her father and stepmother; Margaret Sanger, tried in 1915, 1917, and 1929 for her actions in support of birth control; Ethel Rosenberg, tried in 1951 for aiding the disclosure of secrets of the atom bomb to the Soviets; Yvonne Wanrow, tried in 1974 for killing a man who molested her neighbor s daughter; Patricia Campbell Hearst, tried in 1975 for bank robbery as a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army; Jean Harris, tried in 1982 for killing Herman Tarnower, the Diet Doctor; and Darci Kayleen Pierce, tried in 1988 for kidnapping and brutally murdering a pregnant woman, then removing the baby from the woman s womb. In her analysis, Schuetz is careful to define these trials as popular trials. Characteristically, popular trials involve persons, issues, or crimes of social interest that attract extensive public interest and involvement. Such trials make a contribution to the ongoing historical dialogue about the meaning of justice and the legal system, while reflecting the values of the time and place in which they occur. Schuetz examines the kinds of communication that transpired and the importance of gender in the trials by applying a different current rhetorical theory to each trial text. In every chapter, she explains her chosen interpretive theory, compares that framework with the discourse of the trial, and makes judgments about the meaning of the trial texts based on the interpretive theory."
The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde by Merlin HollandLondon's Central Criminal Court Sessions Papers for April 1895 were blunt, declaring that "the details of this case are unfit for publication." The case was Oscar Wilde's first trial, a libel action brought against the Marquess of Queensberry for publicly calling him a homosexual. What unfolded in the court was one of Victorian London's most infamous scandals: the great, doomed love affair between Wilde and Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas, the Marquess's son. When it became public, it cost Wilde everything. Merlin Holland, Wilde's grandson and a noted researcher and archivist, has discovered the original transcript of the trial that led to his grandfather's tragedy. Here for the first time is the true, uncensored record, free of the distortions and censorship of previous accounts. On 18 February 1895, Bosie's father delivered a note to the Albemarle Club addressed to "Oscar Wilde posing as a somdomite [sic]." With Bosie's encouragement, Wilde decided to sue the Marquess for libel. As soon as the trial opened, London's literary darling was at the center of the greatest scandal of his time. Wilde's fall from grace was swift: having lost this case, he was in turn prosecuted and later imprisoned. Bankrupted, he fled to Paris never to see his family again. Within five years he was dead, his health never having recovered from the years in Reading gaol. This remarkable book reveals Wilde on trial for his life, though he did not know it -- his confidence ebbing under the relentless cross-questioning, the wit for which he was so celebrated gradually deserting him under the remorseless scrutiny. The tragic climax falls when Wilde is betrayed by his own cleverness, unconsciously playing into the prosecutor's hands. With that his cause is lost.
Publication Date: 2003-11-04
What Brown V. Board of Education Should Have Said by Jack M. Balkin (Editor)Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 decision ordering the desegregation of America's public schools, is perhaps the most famous case in American constitutional law. Criticized and even openly defied when first handed down, in half a century Brown has become a venerated symbol of equality and civil rights. Its meaning, however, remains as contested as the case is celebrated. In the decades since the original decision, constitutional interpreters of all stripes have found within it different meanings. Both supporters and opponents of affirmative action have claimed the mantle of Brown, criticizing the other side for betraying its spirit. Meanwhile, the opinion itself has often been criticized as bland and uninspiring, carefully written to avoid controversy and maintain unanimity among the Justices. As the 50th anniversary of Brown approaches, America's schools are increasingly divided by race and class. Liberals and conservatives alike harbor profound regrets about the development of race relations since Brown, while disagreeing heatedly about the proper role of the courts in promoting civil equality and civil rights. In this volume, nine of America's top constitutional and civil rights experts have been challenged to rewrite the Brown decision as they would like it to have been written, incorporating what they now know about the subsequent history of the United States but making use of only those sources available at the time of the original decision. In addition, Jack Balkin gives a detailed introduction to the case, chronicling the history of the litigation in Brown, and explaining the current debates over its legacy. Contributors include: Bruce Ackerman, Jack M Balkin, Derrick A. Bell, Drew S. Days, John Hart Ely, Catharine A. MacKinnon, Michael W. McConnell, Frank I Michelman, and Cass R. Sunstein.
Publication Date: 2001-08-01
Hauptmann's Ladder by Richard T. CahillWinner of Foreword Reviews' Gold INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award, True Crime In 1936, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was executed for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr. Almost all of America believed Hauptmann guilty; only a few magazines and tabloids published articles questioning his conviction. In the ensuing decades, many books about the Lindbergh case have been published. Some have declared Hauptmann the victim of a police conspiracy and frame-up, and one posited that Lindbergh actually killed his own son and fabricated the entire kidnapping to mask the deed.Because books about the crime have been used as a means to advance personal theories, the truth has often been sacrificed and readers misinformed. Hauptmann's Ladder is a testament to the truth that counters the revisionist histories all too common in the true crime genre. Author Richard T. Cahill Jr. puts the "true" back in "true crime," providing credible information and undistorted evidence that enables readers to form their own opinions and reach their own conclusions. Cahill presents conclusions based upon facts and documentary evidence uncovered in his twenty years of research. Using primary sources and painstakingly presenting a chronological reconstruction of the crime and its aftermath, he debunks false claims and explodes outrageous theories, while presenting evidence that has never before been revealed. Hauptmann's Ladder is a meticulously researched examination of the Lindbergh kidnapping that restores and preserves the truth of the crime of the century.