The History of Genres: Reaching for Reality in Law and Literature

39 Law & Social Inquiry 1057

23 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2015

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

Genres are historical formations; their ability to generate knowledge depends on their interrelationships within a culture. Since law, too, can be viewed as a genre, studies of specific historical relationalities between law and other genres are necessary for law’s own history and theory. This essay discusses differentiations between Victorian law and literature, starting out from the recent publication of Ayelet Ben-Yishai’s Common Precedents: The Presentness of the Past in Victorian Law and Fiction (2013), which reveals some of that history. I examine two points: differentiations in legal and literary approaches to probabilistic knowledge, and differentiations in the author functions in law and literature. These differentiations bear multiple implications. I discuss implications for evidence-law debates about probabilistic evidence, for contract-law debates about the centrality of autonomy and self-authorship, and for understandings of legal reasoning itself — the elusive notion of “thinking like a lawyer.”

Keywords: Law and literature; genre history; evidence; contract; legal reasoning

Suggested Citation

Rosenberg, Anat, The History of Genres: Reaching for Reality in Law and Literature (2014). 39 Law & Social Inquiry 1057, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2691031

Anat Rosenberg (Contact Author)

Reichman University ( email )

Israel
0524000051 (Phone)
469100 (Fax)

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