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Law and Literature

ENGL 266.301
instructor(s):
TR 9-10:30

This course will explore the intersections between literature and law, examining both how representations of investigation, trial and punishment find their way into literary texts and how legal processes rely on literary forms.  We will thus consider the enduring fascination that law and justice have held for literary writers and investigate the narrative dimensions of the law.   In doing so, we will explore the frictions and overlaps between “truth” and “fiction,” concentrating particularly on different models of verification and proof in legal documents, literature and cinema.  Readings will consist of plays, stories, novels and films as well as some case law; this is a wide-ranging course, moving through a number of genres and historical periods.  Possible authors include Sophocles, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Behn, Melville, Kafka, Twain and Morrison, as well as secondary historical and theoretical texts.  Students will be required to write 2 papers and some critical exercises.