Friday, October 14, 2016

Killers, detectives, fiction and Law



Fatal fictions: crime and investigation in law and literature
Alison L. LaCroix, Richard H. McAdams, Martha C. Nussbaum (eds.)
New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2016.
ISNN: 9780190610784

Lawyers and fiction writers have always confronted crime and punishment. This age-old fascination with crime on the part of both authors and readers is not surprising, given that criminal justice touches on so many political and psychological themes essential to literature, and comes equipped with a trial process that contains its own dramatic structure. This essay collection explores this profound and enduring literary engagement with crime and criminal justice. The essays in this collection span a wide array of genres, including tragic drama, science fiction, lyric poetry, autobiography, and mystery novels. The works discussed include works as old as fifth-century BCE Greek tragedy and as recent as contemporary novels, memoirs, and mystery novels. The cumulative result is arresting: there are "killer wives" and crimes against trees; a government bureaucrat who sends political adversaries to their death for treason before falling to the same fate himself; a convicted murderer who doesn't die when hanged; a psychopathogical collector whose quite sane kidnapping victim nevertheless also collects; Justice Thomas' reading and misreading of Bigger Thomas; a man who forgives his son's murderer and one who cannot forgive his wife's non-existent adultery; fictional detectives who draw on historical analysis to solve murders. These essays begin a conversation, and they illustrate the great depth and power of crime in literature.

 
Introduction

Scott Turow
On my careers in crime

Part I: Criminal histories.

Daniel Telech
Mercy at the Areopagus: a Nietzschean account of justice and joy in the Eumenides

Barry Wimpfheimer
Suborning perjury: a case study of narrative precedent in Talmudic law

Alison Lacroix
A man for all treasons: crimes by and against the Tudor state in the novels of Hilary Mantel

Marina Leslie
Representing Anne Green: historical and literary form, and the scenes of the crime in Oxford, 1651

Richard Strier & Richard McAdams
Cold-blooded and high minded murder: the "case" of Othello

Pamela Foa
What's love got to do with it? sexual exploitation in Measure for Measure: a prosecutor's view


Part II: Race and crime

Justin Driver
Justice Thomas and Bigger Thomas

Martha Nussbaum
Reconciliation without anger: Paton's Cry, the beloved country


Part III: Responsibility and violenc

Saul Levmore
Kidnap, credibility, and the collector

Jonathan Masur
Premeditation and responsibility in The Stranger

Saira Mohamed and Melissa Murray
Walking away: lessons from Omelas

Mark Payne
Before the law: imagining crimes against trees

 
Part IV: Suspicion and investigation

Caleb Smith
Crime scenes: fictions of security in the antebellum American borderlands

Steven Wilf
The legal historian as detective

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