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Law and the Literary Imagination: The Continuing Relevance of Literature to Modern Legal Scholarship

  • Julia J. A. ShawEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

Although the sheer technicality of the law’s concepts and categories often inhibits any discussion of their own premises, literature is able to illuminate the world by means of imagistic language, elucidating important moral values and social ideas. Therefore, historically, philosophical writings, literary texts and tropes have been important sources of reference and inspiration in the formation of key legal concepts such as justice, rights, authority, freedom and equality. The relationship between law and literature is nothing new as both are cultural practices and share a mutual interest in meaning-making. Just as art is said to imitate life, law emulates life through invention and fiction. This chapter explores the significance of a literary imagination to lawmakers and legal scholars alike, particularly in response to the modern moral and legal dilemmas posed by our increasingly complex society.

Keywords

 Literature  Law Literary Imagination  Fiction  Justice 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.De Montfort UniversityLeicesterUK

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