LAW AND LITERATURE SEMINAR

Spring 1998

This course will study several fictional depictions of crime and the legal response to crime, in order to gain a better understanding of the personal forces at play in this complex social process. The table below indicates the reading assignment for each class meeting.

1/14 No reading assignment

1/21 William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, acts 1-3

1/28 Measure for Measure, acts 4-5

2/4 Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

2/11 Herman Melville, Billy Budd

2/18 Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment, parts 1-3

2/25 Crime and Punishment, parts 4-6 and epilogue

3/4 Franz Kafka, The Trial, chapters 1-6

3/11 The Trial, chapters 7-10

3/18 Work(s) selected as paper topics

3/25 Spring break

4/1 Richard Wright, Native Son, pages 1-255

4/8 Native Son, pages 255-502

4/15 Susan Glaspell, "A Jury of Her Peers," and Katharine Anne Porter, Noon Wine

4/22 John Cheever, Falconer

 

Each class after the first (except class on March 18th) will begin with a short quiz on the assigned reading and then proceed to a discussion of the work under study. At or before each class meeting (except the first), students will be required to hand in (or e-mail to < a journal entry containing at least two pages of written reactions to the assigned reading.

Each student in the course will also complete a paper of at least 6500 words (about twenty-five typewritten, letter size, double-spaced pages), including any footnotes or endnotes, on a work (or works) of fiction dealing with crime and the legal response to it, other than those on the assigned reading list. The paper must include a word count. The type of analysis employed in this paper should roughly parallel that used in the classroom discussion of the assigned readings; use of secondary sources (if available) is strongly suggested.

Any of the works listed below is acceptable as a paper topic; if you wish to write on another work (or works), you must clear the proposed titles with me in advance.

Chinua Achebe, No Longer at Ease

Oscar Zeta Acosta, Revolt of the Cockroach People

Aeschylus, The Oresteian Trilogy*

Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace

Louis Auchincloss, The Embezzler

Louis Auchincloss, I Come as a Thief

Stephen Becker, A Covenant with Death

Saul Bellow, A Theft and The Bellarosa Connection

Malcolm Braly, On the Yard

Rosellen Brown, Before and After

Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange*

William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch

Albert Camus, The Stranger*

Walter van Tilburg Clark, The Ox-Bow Incident

James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers

James Gould Cozzens, The Just and the Unjust

Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater

Pete Dexter, Paris Trout

Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

E.L. Doctorow, Billy Bathgate

E.L. Doctorow, The Book of Daniel

E.L. Doctorow, Ragtime

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The House of the Dead

Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy

William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust

William Faulkner, Knight's Gambit

William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun

William Faulkner, Sanctuary

Henry Fielding, Jonathan Wild

John Fowles, The Collector

Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

John Gardner, The Sunlight Dialogues

David Guterson, Snow Falling on Cedars

George V. Higgins, The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Lawrence Joseph, Lawyerland

Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon

Margot Livesey, Criminals

Bernard Malamud, The Fixer

Peter Matthiessen, Killing Mister Watson

Herman Melville, The Confidence Man: His Masquerade

Toni Morrison, Beloved

Toni Morrison, Jazz

Vladimir Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

Njal’s Saga

Joyce Carol Oates, Angel of Light

Joyce Carol Oates, Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart

Joyce Carol Oates, Black Water and The Rise of Life on Earth

Joyce Carol Oates, Do with Me What You Will

Joyce Carol Oates, Expensive People

Joyce Carol Oates, Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang*

Joyce Carol Oates, Them

Joyce Carol Oates, Zombie

Tim O’Brien, In the Lake of the Woods

Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country

Ruthann Robson, Another Mother

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, The Madness of a Seduced Woman

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Murder

Scott Turow, The Burden of Proof

Scott Turow, The Laws of Our Fathers

Scott Turow, Pleading Guilty

Scott Turow, Presumed Innocent

Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson

Jessamyn West, The Massacre at Fall Creek

Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

Herman Wouk, The Caine Mutiny

* These works may be selected only if you took Criminal Law from someone other than me or with my permission.

On February 18th each student will be required in indicate (in writing) the name of the work(s) on which the seminar paper will be based. In class on March 18th, each student will present a five-minute oral description of the work(s) chosen and the issues of crime and the legal response to crime raised by the work(s); journal entries submitted on March 18th should also relate to the work(s) chosen. A detailed outline or first draft of the seminar paper will be due in class on April 15th. The paper, plus two copies, must be turned in to the Faculty Secretaries Office by 12:00 noon on Monday, May 4th.

The grade in the course will be determined on the following basis: paper 50%, quizzes 30% (there will be no makeups of missed quizzes; the lowest quiz grade will be dropped), journal 10% (please retain the journal entries I return to you and resubmit them all on April 22nd), and class participation 10%.

 


 

 




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