For more than 15 years, Catharine Stimpson and I have taught a "Law and Literature" seminar at NYU Law School.It is a popular class (mainly because of Kate, a literature professor and former dean of the graduate school) with lively discussions. Ephraim London originated the class decades ago but it had not been offered for years after Ephraim died. (Ephraim's landmark anthologies, THE LAW IN LITERATURE and THE LAW AS LITERATURE are a delight.)
Our blog attracts teachers of legal ethics and others with interest in the subject. The works on our reading list (some staples, others new each year) are chosen because they raise questions about justice and morality, often in a legal context broadly defined. This is a way to talk about the issues in a legal ethics class, among other issues, from a very different perspective.
I thought I'd share the reading list for the coming term in case anyone is interested in considering such a class. I invite suggestions for other works. We often include a Dickens or Trollope novel but not this year.
W.H. Auden, LAW LIKE LIVE.
Shakespeare, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.
Moises Kaufman, GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE. We also assign passages from Wilde's DE PROFUNDIS.
Kafka, THE TRIAL (preferably the Breon Micthell translation) and Orwell, A HANGING (this is a short essay available on line).
Zora Neale Hurston, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD.
Chinua Achebe, THINGS FALL APART.
Assia Djebar, CHILDREN OF THE NEW WORLD.
J.M. Coetzee,WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS.
Janet Malcolm, IPHIGENIA IN FOREST HILLS (we also assign a court case about the events in this book).
Athol Fugard, THE ISLAND.
With Fugard we discuss ANTIGONA, an adaptation of ANTIGONE, by Jose Watanabe.