Fatal Fictions: Crime and Investigation in Law and Literature

Hardcover | December 15, 2016

EditorAlison L. Lacroix, Richard H. Mcadams, Martha C. Nussbaum

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Writers of fiction have always confronted topics of crime and punishment. This age-old fascination with crime on the part of both authors and readers is not surprising, given that criminal justice touches on so many political and psychological themes essential to literature, and comes equippedwith a trial process that contains its own dramatic structure. This volume explores this profound and enduring literary engagement with crime, investigation, and criminal justice. The collected essays explore three themes that connect the world of law with that of fiction. First, defining and punishing crime is one of the fundamental purposes of government,along with the protection of victims by the prevention of crime. And yet criminal punishment remains one of the most abused and terrifying forms of political power. Second, crime is intensely psychological and therefore an important subject by which a writer can develop and explore character. Athird connection between criminal justice and fiction involves the inherently dramatic nature of the legal system itself, particularly the trial. Moreover, the ongoing public conversation about crime and punishment suggests that the time is ripe for collaboration between law and literature in thistroubled domain.The essays in this collection span a wide array of genres, including tragic drama, science fiction, lyric poetry, autobiography, and mystery novels. The works discussed include works as old as fifth-century BCE Greek tragedy and as recent as contemporary novels, memoirs, and mystery novels. Thecumulative result is arresting: there are "killer wives" and crimes against trees; a government bureaucrat who sends political adversaries to their death for treason before falling to the same fate himself; a convicted murderer who doesn't die when hanged; a psychopathogical collector whose quitesane kidnapping victim nevertheless also collects; Justice Thomas' reading and misreading of Bigger Thomas; a man who forgives his son's murderer and one who cannot forgive his wife's non-existent adultery; fictional detectives who draw on historical analysis to solve murders. These essays begin aconversation, and they illustrate the great depth and power of crime in literature.

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Writers of fiction have always confronted topics of crime and punishment. This age-old fascination with crime on the part of both authors and readers is not surprising, given that criminal justice touches on so many political and psychological themes essential to literature, and comes equippedwith a trial process that contains its own ...

Alison L. LaCroix is the Robert Newton Reid Professor of Law and an Associate Member of the Department of History at the University of Chicago. She is the author of The Ideological Origins of American Federalism and the co-editor, with Martha C. Nussbaum, of Subversion and Sympathy: Gender, Law, and the British Novel (OUP 2012). Her te...

other books by Alison L. Lacroix

The Ideological Origins of American Federalism
The Ideological Origins of American Federalism

Paperback|Oct 15 2011

$31.96 online$32.50list price
Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:December 15, 2016Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190610786

ISBN - 13:9780190610784

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