Thursday, July 08, 2010

On literary laws. Poetic Justice & Legal Fictions


Jonathan Kertzer

Poetic Justice and Legal Fictions

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,

2010, 178 pp

ISBN: 9780521196451

Literature reveals the intense efforts of moral imagination required to articulate what justice is and how it might be satisfied. Examining a wide variety of texts including Shakespeare's plays, Gilbert and Sullivan's operas, and modernist poetics, Poetic Justice and Legal Fictions explores how literary laws and values illuminate and challenge the jurisdiction of justice and the law. Jonathan Kertzer examines how justice is articulated by its command of, or submission to, time, nature, singularity, truth, transcendence and sacrifice, marking the distance between the promise of justice to satisfy our moral and sociable needs and its failure to do so. Poetic Justice and Legal Fictions will be invaluable reading for scholars of the law within literature and amongst modernist and twentieth century literature specialists.

Examining a wide variety of texts including Shakespeare's plays, Gilbert and Sullivan's operas, and modernist poetics, Poetic Justice and Legal Fictions explores how literary laws and values illuminate and challenge the jurisdiction of justice and the law.


Acknowledgements

1. Le mot juste

2. Life plus ninety-nine years: the fantasy of legal fictions

3. Time's desire: the temporality of justice

4. One touch of nature: literature and natural law

5. The course of a particular: on literary singularity

6. Truth, justice and the pathos of understanding

7. Conclusion: legal fictions

Notes

Works cited

Index

Jonathan Kertzer is Professor of English at the University of Calgary. His previous publications include Poetic Argument: Studies in Modern Poetry (1989), “That House in Manawaka”: Margaret Laurence’s “A Bird in the House” (1992), and Worrying the Nation: Imagining a National Literature in English Canada (1998).

No comments: