Fatal fictions: crime and investigation in law and literatureAlison L. LaCroix, Richard H. McAdams, Martha C. Nussbaum (eds.)
New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2016.
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.
Scott TurowOn my careers in crime
Part I: Criminal histories.
Daniel TelechMercy at the Areopagus: a Nietzschean account of justice and joy in the Eumenides
Barry WimpfheimerSuborning perjury: a case study of narrative precedent in Talmudic law
Alison LacroixA man for all treasons: crimes by and against the Tudor state in the novels of Hilary Mantel
Marina LeslieRepresenting Anne Green: historical and literary form, and the scenes of the crime in Oxford, 1651
Richard Strier & Richard McAdamsCold-blooded and high minded murder: the "case" of Othello
Pamela FoaWhat's love got to do with it? sexual exploitation in Measure for Measure: a prosecutor's view
Part II: Race and crime
Justin DriverJustice Thomas and Bigger Thomas
Martha NussbaumReconciliation without anger: Paton's Cry, the beloved country
Part III: Responsibility and violenc
Saul LevmoreKidnap, credibility, and the collector
Jonathan MasurPremeditation and responsibility in The Stranger
Saira Mohamed and Melissa MurrayWalking away: lessons from Omelas
Mark PayneBefore the law: imagining crimes against trees
Part IV: Suspicion and investigation
Caleb SmithCrime scenes: fictions of security in the antebellum American borderlands
Steven WilfThe legal historian as detective