ENG 276 Literature and the LawLecture
Semester(s): (No information on typically offered semesters)
Grading: Graded (A-F)
Examination of works of literature that revolve around representations of the relationships between law, community, religion, and the state, with attention to the relationship between legal interpretation and textual analysis. For example: Morani Kornberg-Weiss, Language and the Law In the study and practice of law, truth and justice rely on narration. Words, after all, are essential for lawyers, defendants, and juries. Rhetoric and argumentation help one make a case. This course invites students to explore the nature of law, ethics, and social justice through the prism of literature and language. We will consider the modes in which law and literature intersect and think about the function of narrative and storytelling, form and sequence, punishment, interpretation, ethics, and political and social order. Beginning with the question What is truth? we will examine its ramifications in various cultural, social, and historical moments. Texts are often ambiguous and contradictory, holding multiple truths and meanings. They change as readers change. These paradoxes will motivate us to ask: in what way is law similar to literature? How does each discipline define a text? How does each define justice? How does literature employ narrative as a form of regulation? How does the way in which a story is told affect what it means? Although most of the texts we will read clearly foreground the function of law and punishment, others engage us through a seemingly absent legal system.