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Law & Literature: Law and Literature

What is Law & Literature?

'Law and literature' is an interdisciplinary subject in itself, especially in American universities, and it has developed from an understanding of how literary study can benefit lawyers - in Cardozo's understanding of narrative technique when formulating legal arguments, say, or in White's concept of the legal imagination - into a self-aware discipline that uses literary concepts to highlight legal ones, and vice versa.

A useful digital commons guide by Paul Heald. The books below provide some overviews or introductions of the subject.

Law & Literature

Law and Literature as a discipline has been shaped by its growth in the US, although other countries draw upon their own traditions in response to the subject's American influence. White, West, Ward, Fish and Goodrich are some of the key thinkers in developing this broad area of study.

Critical Legal Studies

What's in a name? The Critical Legal Studies movement (CLS) shares some of the assumptions of the later law and literature scholars (see the tab entitled 'Using Literary Techniques to Critique Law' in the 'Law as literature' tab). CLS is concerned with uncovering the hidden structures of power in law, and treats law not as unified and monolithic but as constructed, narrated. In critiquing its structures of power, deconstruction treats law as a literary creation.