Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Literature, Law And
Melanie L. Williams
The field of interdisciplinary study known as “law and literature” brings the two fields of “law” and “literature” (or literary studies) together to engender new scholarly insights. Today, scholars regard law and literature as a discrete academic field, though the degree of convergence among scholarly contributions in terms of broad sources is undercut by the divergence in topics and methods. Some assume that law and literature studies comprise the evaluation of legal themes in classical texts famous for their “legal” content—such as the debates on legal principles found in works by Charles Dickens or Shakespeare. Such studies may provide fascinating insights into points of legal principle or perspective, for example, in relation to the operation of the Court of Chancery in Dickens's Bleak House (1852–1853) or the relationship between the common law and the law of equity in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (c. 1594). Thus, works of literature often ...