Law Lit: From Atticus Finch to The Practice: A Collection of Great Writing About the Law

Law Lit: From Atticus Finch to The Practice: A Collection of Great Writing About the Law

by Thane Rosenbaum (Editor)




In Law Lit, acclaimed novelist and law professor Thane Rosenbaum delves into our cultural obsession with the law, exploring how the legal system has historically captivated the imagination of artists and the attention of readers—from Oedipus Rex to today’s courtroom thrillers.

This handsome volume, which TV anchor Jack Ford called “marvelously entertaining and enlightening,” collects the iconic and the unexpected, each piece reminding us of the passion for justice, the struggle to do right, and the belief in the power of language that lie at the heart of the law. Were you inspired by Atticus Finch’s closing remarks in To Kill a Mockingbird? Read them here, along with Portia’s poetic maneuverings in The Merchant of Venice, the famously heated cross-examination from A Few Good Men, and Bob Dylan’s controversial protest song “Hurricane.”

With dozens of selections, including fiction, essays, and even film scripts, Law Lit is a dazzling collection that transcends place and time, from ancient Greece and foggy London to the narrow streets of Prague and the spectacle of an Alabama courthouse, offering an enlightening look at how lives can be laid bare before the bench.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595581945
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 10/01/2007
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x (d)

About the Author

Thane Rosenbaum is an essayist, a Fordham University law professor, and an award-winning novelist. His writing appears frequently in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. His book The Myth of Moral Justice was selected as one of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Best Books of 2004. Rosenbaum directs the Forum on Law, Culture, & Society at Fordham Law School and lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Editor's Note     xi
Introduction     xiii
The Law Elevated     1
from To Kill a Mockingbird   Harper Lee     3
from Presumed Innocent   Scott Turow     6
from The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson   Mark Twain     8
from Native Son   Richard Wright     14
from The Nature of the Judicial Process   Benjamin N. Cardozo     20
from The Verdict   David Mamet     25
Opinion from Schmidt v. United States   Judge Learned Hand     26
from "J'accuse"   Emile Zola     29
Lawless Law     35
from 'A Vendetta"   Guy de Maupassant     37
from The Count of Monte Cristo   Alexandre Dumas     42
from A Time to Kill   Akiva Goldsman   John Grisham     45
The Law and Liberty     47
from The Trial   Franz Kafka     49
from Civil Disobedience   Henry David Thoreau     53
from "The Grande Lettre"   Marquis de Sade     55
from The Book of Daniel   E.L. Doctorow     58
from "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"   Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.     60
from The Scarlet Letter   Nathaniel Hawthorne     65
from Intruder in the Dust   William Faulkner     69
from The Handmaid's Tale   Margaret Atwood     73
from The Fountainhead   Ayn Rand     79
The Law Made Low     85
From Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison   Michel Foucault     87
from Les Miserables   Victor Hugo     90
from "Hurricane"   Bob Dylan   Jacques Levy     95
"Folsom Prison Blues"   Johnny Cash     98
from The Stranger   Albert Camus     100
from Billy Budd, Sailor   Herman Melville     105
from The Book of Daniel   E.L. Doctorow     114
from An American Tragedy   Theodore Dreiser     117
from Lucky   Alice Sebold     123
The Law Laborious     133
from Bleak House   Charles Dickens     135
from "Bartleby, the Scrivener"   Herman Melville     142
from The Practice   David E. Kelley     148
from One L   Scott Turow     150
from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland   Lewis Carroll     157
from The Floating Opera   John Barth     163
The Lawyer as Lout     171
"The Lawyers Know Too Much"   Carl Sandburg     173
from A Doll's House   Henrik Ibsen     175
from "The Self-seeker"   Robert Frost     180
from The Death of Ivan Ilych   Leo Tolstoy     188
from Bleak House   Charles Dickens     190
from The Sweet Hereafter   Russell Banks     196
The Law and the Loophole     205
from Presumed Innocent   Scott Turow     207
"After Twenty Years"   O. Henry     209
"The Hidden Law"   W.H. Auden     213
"The Lawyers' Ways"   Paul Laurence Dunbar     214
from The Merchant of Venice   William Shakespeare     216
from A Few Good Men   Aaron Sorkin     222
Layman's Law     231
from "A Jury of Her Peers"   Susan Glaspell     233
from "Thank You, M'am"   Langston Hughes     247
from A Civil Action   Jonathan Harr     251
from "An Apology"    Bernard Malamud     255
The Law and Longing     263
from The Hills Beyond   Thomas Wolfe     265
from The Book of Daniel   E.L. Doctorow     270
from The Brothers Karamazov   Fyodor Dostoevsky     273
from Oedipus, the King   Sophocles     281
from Inherit the Wind   Jerome Lawrence   Robert Edwin Lee     284
Acknowledgments     289
Permissions and Sources     291

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