Literary Criticisms of Law

Literary Criticisms of Law

by Guyora Binder, Robert Weisberg
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0691007241

ISBN-13: 9780691007243

Pub. Date: 02/22/2000

Publisher: Princeton University Press

In this book, the first to offer a comprehensive examination of the emerging study of law as literature, Guyora Binder and Robert Weisberg show that law is not only a scheme of social order, but also a process of creating meaning, and a crucial dimension of modern culture. They present lawyers as literary innovators, who creatively interpret legal authority,

Overview

In this book, the first to offer a comprehensive examination of the emerging study of law as literature, Guyora Binder and Robert Weisberg show that law is not only a scheme of social order, but also a process of creating meaning, and a crucial dimension of modern culture. They present lawyers as literary innovators, who creatively interpret legal authority, narrate disputed facts and hypothetical fictions, represent persons before the law, move audiences with artful rhetoric, and invent new legal forms and concepts. Binder and Weisberg explain the literary theories and methods increasingly applied to law, and they introduce and synthesize the work of over a hundred authors in the fields of law, literature, philosophy, and cultural studies.

Drawing on these disparate bodies of scholarship, Binder and Weisberg analyze law as interpretation, narration, rhetoric, language, and culture, placing each of these approaches within the history of literary and legal thought. They sort the styles of analysis most likely to sharpen critical understanding from those that risk self-indulgent sentimentalism or sterile skepticism, and they endorse a broadly synthetic cultural criticism that views law as an arena for composing and contesting identity, status, and character. Such a cultural criticism would evaluate law not simply as a device for realizing rights and interests but also as the framework for a vibrant cultural life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691007243
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
02/22/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
440
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.16(d)

Table of Contents

PREFACE ix
INTRODUCTION
Law as Literature 3
From Letters to Literature 7
Literary Canons and Academies 13
The Risks and Possibilities of Law and Literature 16
Genres of Criticism 20
CHAPTER ONE Interpretive Crises in American Legal Thought 28
Introduction 28
1.1 The Crisis of Whig Hermeneutics 31
1.2 Progressive Interpretation 56
1.3 The Crisis of Progressive Interpretation 87
Conclusion 109
CHAPTER TWO Hermeneutic Criticism of Law 112
Introduction 112
2.1 Literary Theories of Interpretation 114
2.2 Law as Literary Interpretation 154
2.3 Legal Hermeneutics in Practice 188
Conclusion 199
CHAPTER THREE Narrative Criticism of Law 201
Introduction: The Law as Narrative Trope 201
3.1 Literary Theories of Narrative 209
3.2 Instrumental Claims: Narrative as Law's Antagonist and Salvation 232
3.3 Law and Narrative as Mutually Inherent 261
Conclusion: Performing the Law and Narrating the Nation 287
CHAPTER FOUR Rhetorical Criticism of Law 292
Introduction: Law, Rhetoric, and the Problem of Authoritarianism 292
4.1 A Very Brief History of Rhetoric 299
4.2 The Conservative Model o Rhetoric 309
4.3 Is a Liberal Rhetoric Possible? 330
Conclusion 376
CHAPTER FIVE Deconstructive Criticism of Law 378
Introduction 378
5.1 Derridean Deconstruction 380
5.2 Deconstruction as Epistemological Criticism 408
5.3 Deconstruction as Ethical Criticism 440
Conclusion 460
CHAPTER SIX Cultural Criticism of Law 462
Introduction 462
6.1 Theoretical Sources for Cultural Criticism of Law 464
62 Cultural Readings of Disputes 480
6.3 Cultural Readings of Capitalism 507
Conclusion 538
INDEX 541

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