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Law and Literature


This course employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine the evolving relationship of law and literature, beginning with an understanding of how the two disciplines are similarly rooted in language, as well as how they structure reality through language. The intersection of these disciplines is explored in a variety of fiction and non-fiction novels, dramas, films, law review articles and judicial opinions. Literary works to be covered may include works by Shakespeare, Sophocles, Richard Wright, Harper Lee, John Grisham, Albert Camus, Alan Moore, Truman Capote and Kurt Vonnegut. Particular emphasis is placed on issues of narrative, rhetoric, power, ethics, interpretation, responsibility and authority. Questions addressed in the course include (1) How does literature view law and legal institutions? (2) What can literature contribute to the performance of legal tasks, such as "telling stories" about legal disputes? (3) How much of law itself is a series of stories or narrative? (4) What is the role of rhetoric in law? (5) How can literary techniques contribute to issues of legal interpretation? (6) Can studying how a good writer tells stories and uses language improve those skills in lawyers and paralegals? and (7) Can literature promote ethics in law? This course satisfies the Gordon Rule writing requirement. A grade of “C” or higher must be attained.

Class Hours: 
ENC 1101.
Course Type: