Law and Literature

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The urge to understand law as a literary-linguistic pursuit started in the early twentieth century. When John Wigmore promoted the study the literary depictions of law to the legal professional (Wigmore 1908), and Benjamin Cardozo showed that the form of how things are said in law matters as much as the propositional contents (Cardozo 1925) when reading and writing for meaning, they could not have fathomed that their works would later become a source of inspiration of an interdisciplinary field in legal theory that promoted precisely their insights. The current (re)valuation of law as a humanistic discipline started in the 1970s in the United States. It was occasioned by a waning of political consensus, and a critique of both the long dominant legal process school and the renewed interest in legal positivism on the view that a separation of law and ethics, and a tendency to ignore questions of justice were no longer tenable. The study of literature was promoted as both as...
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy, Living Edition
EditorsM. Sellers, S. Kirste
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-94-007-6730-0
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2021

Research programs

  • SAI 2010-01 RRL


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