April 16, 2018
Cathrine O. Frank, Ph.D., professor of English, recently published “Narrative and Law,” an essay on the relationship between storytelling and legal representation, in the book Law and Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2018), edited by Kieran Dolin.
Frank’s chapter compares Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Strange Case of George Edalji” (1907)—a public appeal on behalf of wrongly-convicted Staffordshire solicitor George Edalji—and Julian Barnes’ novel Arthur and George (2005).
According to Frank, both accounts marshal cultural and legal narratives, including stock stories about race and class and references to the Dreyfus Affair in France, to analyze and reframe the case against Edalji. However, it is Barnes’ attention to formal narrative properties, Frank argues, that highlight their impact on individual character in ways that coincide with both the aims of narrative jurisprudence and a renewed rhetoric of character in contemporary narratives of personal, cultural and national identity.
Law and Literature is part of the Cambridge University Press series Cambridge Critical Concepts.
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