A Lawyer's Odyssey: Constitutive Conversation in Literature and Law
16 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2017 Last revised: 25 May 2017
Date Written: January 26, 2017
Through a close reading and original translation of several passages from The Odyssey, this essay suggests that lawyers can learn from a certain sort of engagement with literature — and with Homer in particular. Reading The Odyssey in the way I describe highlights the constitutive capacity of speech. What we say, and how we say it, does not merely reveal who we are; it helps makes us who we are. Moreover, our speech also helps construct the character of those to whom we speak. Homer brings this home. Reading the Odyssey can thus help us think more deeply about what we choose to say and how we choose to say it. Homer can help us learn to take responsibility for what we do — to ourselves and to others — when we speak.
Keywords: Law and Literature, Ancient Greek, Homer, The Odyssey, Rhetoric
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