Hailed in its first edition as an "outstanding work, as stimulating as it is intellectually distinguished" (New York Times), Law and Literature has handily lived up to the Washington Post's prediction that the book would "remain essential reading for many years to come." This third edition, extensively revised and enlarged, is the only comprehensive book-length treatment of the field. It continues to emphasize the essential differences between law and literature, which are rooted in the different social functions of legal and literary texts. But it also explores areas of mutual illumination and expands its range to include new topics such as the cruel and unusual punishments clause of the Constitution, illegal immigration, surveillance, global warming and bioterrorism, and plagiarism.
In this edition, literary works from classics by Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, Dostoevsky, Melville, Kafka, and Camus to contemporary fiction by Tom Wolfe, Margaret Atwood, John Grisham, and Joyce Carol Oates come under Richard Posner's scrutiny, as does the film The Matrix.
The book remains the most clear, acute account of the intersection of law and literature.
Richard A. Posner retired as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
* Contents * Preface * Critical Introduction Part I. Literary Texts as Legal Texts * Reflections of Law in Literature Theoretical Considerations The American Legal Novel The Law in Popular Culture Camus and Stendhal Farcical Trials * Law's Beginnings: Revenge as Legal Prototype and Literary Genre The Logic of Revenge Revenge Literature The Iliad and Hamlet * Antinomies of Legal Theory Jurisprudential Drama from Sophocles to Shelley Has Law Gender? * The Limits of Literary Jurisprudence Kafka Dickens Wallace Stevens * Literary Indictments of Legal Injustice Law and Ressentiment Romantic Values in Literature and Law Billy Budd, The Brothers Karamazov, and Law's Limits * Two Legal Perspectives on Kafka On Reading Kafka Politically In Defense of Classical Liberalism The Grand Inquisitor and Other Social Theorists * Penal Theory in Paradise Lost The Punishment of Satan and His Followers The Punishment of Man The Punishment of the Animals Part II. Legal Texts as Literary Texts * Interpreting Contracts, Statutes, and Constitutions Interpretation Theorized What Can Law Learn from Literary Criticism? Chain Novels and Black Ink Interpretation as Translation * Judicial Opinions as Literature Meaning, Style, and Rhetoric Aesthetic Integrity and the "Pure" versus the "Impure" Style Two Cultures Part III. How Else Might Literature Help Law? * Literature as a Source of Background Knowledge for Law Arch of Triumph From Huxley to The Matrix * Improving Trial and Appellate Advocacy Sherlock Holmes to the Rescue? Legal Narratology Fictional Depictions of Lawyers The Funeral Orations in Julius Caesar * But Can Literature Humanize Law? Aesthetic versus Moralistic Literary Criticism Then Why Read Literature? Part IV. The Regulation of Literature * Protecting Nonwriters Pornographic Fiction Defamation by Fiction * Protecting (Other) Writers What Is an "Author"? Copyright, Plagiarism, and Creativity Parody * Conclusion. Law and Literature: A Manifesto * Index