Law and Lit FINAL 2

Law and Lit FINAL 2 - Faculty Scholarship Georgetown Law...

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Unformatted text preview: Faculty Scholarship Georgetown Law Faculty Working Papers Georgetown University Law Center Year 2008 Literature, Culture, and Law { at Duke University Robin West Georgetown University Law Center, west@law.georgetown.edu This paper is posted at Scholarship @ GEORGETOWN LAW. http://scholarship.law.georgetown.edu/fwps papers/75 G EORGETOWN L AW Faculty Working Papers August 2008 Literature, Culture, and Law at Duke University in T EACHING L AW AND L ITERATURE ( Catherine Frank & Matthew Anderson eds., forthcoming) Robin West Professor of Law Georgetown Law west@law.georgetown.edu This paper can be downloaded without charge from: BePress: http://lsr.nellco.org/georgetown/fwps/papers/75/ SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1201867 Posted with permission of the author 1 Literature, Culture, and Law -- at Duke University Robin West What is the relation of law and literature? Relatedly, why study literature, or study about literature, in law school? Participants in the law and literature movement of the last quarter of the twentieth century explored three logically possible relations, each of which grounded a different pedagogical as well as scholarly project. First, law might sometimes be the subject matter of great literature, and when it is, literature should be read for the value of its insights into the nature of law. Second, literature might sometimes have the force of law, or might sometime in the past have had the force of law, or might have it in the future, and if so, then in order to know the law as it is, once was, or could be, we need to know its literary narrative root. There may not be a firm distinction, in other words, between the law that is, was, or could be, and the various products of our literary imagination. Third, law might be enough like literature that we can better understand how we glean meaning from legal texts, if we attempt a better understanding of how literature is read and interpreted. These quite different interdisciplinary projects which I will call, respectively, the literary, the jurisprudential, and the hermeneutic -- taken collectively, are what we typically refer to as the law and literature movement in law schools. That movement, defined by reference to those three projects, is still thriving, but it was at its most robust in the 1970s and 1980s. In the last fifteen years or so, the law and literature movement, so defined, has been increasingly overshadowed, at least in the legal academy, by the law and culture movement. Some of the initial theorists of the law and culture movement presented 2 that movement as a critical response to, and perhaps an alternative to, the law and literature movement of the earlier decades. 1 Despite this initial adversarial relation, however, the law and culture movement, as it has developed, now seems more an outgrowth of the law and literature movement than a critical alternative to it. Legalcultural scholars have for the most part embraced the various relational possibilities...
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Law and Lit FINAL 2 - Faculty Scholarship Georgetown Law...

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