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Three decades after James Boyd White's The Legal Imagination'
inaugurated it, the law-and-literature enterprise presents conflicting
symptoms of health. On the one hand, the field appears to be flourishing as
never before. Recent years have seen a spate of books taking law-and-literature approaches. The enterprise has penetrated the legal academy. Conferences on the subject occur with some frequency and attract renowned literary scholars, legal scholars, and jurists.
On the other hand, the field continues to be plagued by skepticism.
Although law and literature is a contemporary of law and economics, and
arguably a response to it, scholarship in law and literature lags far behind
that in law and economics, at least in quantity. It is telling that the book
most adopted in law-and-literature courses, Richard Posner's Law and
Literature, was penned by a scholar best known for law and economics
approaches. This book takes the stern line that law and literature have less
to say to each other than might be thought and observes that courses in the field are still considered "soft."
Date of Authorship for this Version
law and literature