by Richard A. Posner
Harvard University Press, 1998
Paper: 978-0-674-51471-3 | Cloth: 978-0-674-51470-6
Library of Congress Classification PN56.L33P67 1998
Dewey Decimal Classification 809.93355


Hailed in its first edition as an "outstanding work, as stimulating as it is intellectually distinguished" (New York Times), Richard A. Posner's Law and Literature has handily lived up to the Washington Post's prediction that the book would "remain essential reading for many years to come." This new edition, extensively revised and enlarged, continues to emphasize the essential differences between law and literature, which are rooted in the different social functions of legal and literary texts. But it also explores areas of mutual illumination and expands its range to include new topics such as popular fiction about law, literary education for lawyers, the legal narrative movement, and judicial biography.

Literary works from classics by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Melville, Kafka, and Camus to contemporary fiction by William Gaddis, Tom Wolfe, and John Grisham come under Posner's scrutiny, as do recent attempts to apply the techniques of literary analysis to statutes, judicial opinions, and the Constitution. In a section entirely new in this edition, Posner discusses the increasing efforts of legal scholars to enrich their scholarship by borrowing the methods and insights of literature--even by insisting that legal education is incomplete without the ethical insights afforded by an immersion in literature.

Thoroughly rewritten and updated, free of legal and literary jargon, and informed by Posner's extensive erudition and legal experience, this book remains the most clear, acute, and comprehensive account of the intersection of law and literature--"a wonderfully original and instructive study of what literature has to teach us about the law, the methods of legal argument, and the interpretation of statutes and the Constitution" (Wall Street Journal).