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The Conspiracy of Law and the State in Anatole France's 'Crainquebille'; or Law and Literature Comes of Age

32 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2009  

James D. Redwood

Albany Law School

Date Written: 1993


This work by James Redwood briefly introduces the maturation of the “Law and Literature” movement, and the novelty of written works designed as “profitable tales” for the edification of lawyers and legal thinking. Redwood explores the plot of Anatole France’s “Crainquebille” as one such profitable article, making note of four elements worthy of note for legal analysis. First Redwood identifies and discusses a similar historical account, upon which the plot of “Crainquebille” is loosely based. Following next is discussion of the apparent “legal conspiracy” among accused, advocate and judge (which appears designed to culminate in the “inevitable conviction” of the accused for purposes of affirming state legitimacy and power). This in turn leads to discussion of France’s perception of the justice system as an infernal machine designed to “literally manufacture and churn out convictions of carefully selected victims in order to maintain social order and established injustice.” Finally, the piece approaches France’s suggestion, that a judge – capable and willing to inject humanity and compassion into the bar – who “lives and breathes the ‘true spirit of the law’ rather than blindly follow its letter, may be the solution to such a vexatious problem.

Keywords: Justice, Injustice, 'Law and Literature', Lawlit, Jurisprudence, Judicial Conspiracy, Judges, State Legitimacy, Government Authority, Social Order

Suggested Citation

Redwood, James D., The Conspiracy of Law and the State in Anatole France's 'Crainquebille'; or Law and Literature Comes of Age (1993). Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 2-3, pp. 179-210, 1993. Available at SSRN:

James D. Redwood (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
518-472-5839 (Phone)


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