Introduction to Symposium: Reasoning from Literature

11 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2010

See all articles by Jessica M. Silbey

Jessica M. Silbey

Northeastern University School of Law

Date Written: July 6, 2010


The “literary turn” in legal studies manifests in many ways in our legal discipline and practice. Be it with the birth of the study of law and literature in the 1980s, the growing attention to narrative theory and storytelling in the law in the 1990s, or the “cultural turn” in legal studies in the 21st century (as some scholars have called the cultural analysis of law), reasoning from literature seems commonplace. And yet it is still marginalized in legal studies as interdisciplinary, not “really law,” and lacking the core persuasive power that legal argumentation and doctrinal analysis do. This Symposium was put together to wrestle with what it means to “reason from literature” and to contest the boundaries between legal reasoning and literary logic. Jessica Silbey was the Symposium organizer and wrote the introduction to the volume, entitled “Reasoning from Literature.” Other contributors to the volume include Peter Brooks, Laura Heymann, Bernadette Meyler Carol Rose and Kenji Yoshino.

Keywords: law and literature, law and humanities, rhetoric, narrative, cultural analysis of law

Suggested Citation

Silbey, Jessica M., Introduction to Symposium: Reasoning from Literature (July 6, 2010). Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Vol. 22, p. 339, 2010; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 10-31. Available at SSRN:

Jessica M. Silbey (Contact Author)

Northeastern University School of Law ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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