Sunday, July 26, 2009

Intersections of Law and Literatute. UK



David Gurnham
Memory, Imagination, Justice
Ashgate Publishing Ltd
Aldershot, UK 2009, 226 pp.
ISBN13: 9780754671039
ISBN: 0754671038

Through the creative use of literary analysis, Memory, Imagination, Justice provides a critical and highly original discussion of contemporary topics in criminal law and also in bioethics. David Gurnham uses popular and classical texts, by authors including Shakespeare, Dickens, Euripides, Kafka, the Brothers Grimm, Huxley and Margaret Atwood to shed fresh light on such controversial legal and ethical issues as passionate homicide, life sentences, child pornography and genetic enhancement. Gurnham’s overarching theme is the role of memory and imagination in shaping legal and ethical attitudes. Along this line, the book examines the ways in which past wrongs are “remembered” and may be forcefully responded to, both by the criminal justice system itself and also by individuals responding to what they regard as gross insults or invasions of personal space. The volume further discusses the role of imagination as a creative force behind legal reform, in terms of the definition of criminal behavior and the possible future development of the law. These ideas provide a useful and highly original perspective on contemporary issues of crime and society as they resonate both in legal and literary discussion.

Contents:

Part 1 Memory, or Ghosts of Violence Past: 'My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!' Hamlet, hot blood and malice aforethought; 'She has her just deserts by your unjust act': revenge and the (im)possibility of a just cause for provoked killing; 'Abandon every hope all you who enter': punishment, communication and the longevity of the whole life sentence.

Part 2 Childhood Innocence or the Frozen Present: 'What sharp teeth you have, Grandmother!' Songs of innocence and experience; Innocence, the image and the unseen paedophile: spotting indecency in images of children; 'I must not let anyone in; the 7 dwarves have forbidden me to do so': the violence of innocence.

Part 3 Imagination, or Ghosts of Violence Yet to Come: 'What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be the terrors of the earth': nightmares of science/fiction; Science fiction and the sadness of biotechnology: deconstructing conservative nostalgia; Index.

Dr. David Gurnham is a lecturer in the School of Law at the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy, School of Law, University of Manchester. He teaches and researches in the areas of Legal Theory, Healthcare Law and Ethics, and Law and Literature.

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