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Public Law and Legal Theory

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Georgia State University College of Law

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Fiction In The Code: Reading Legislation As Literature, Thomas J. Mcsweeney May 2018

Fiction In The Code: Reading Legislation As Literature, Thomas J. Mcsweeney

Georgia State University Law Review

One of the major branches of the field of law and literature is often described as “law as literature.” Scholars of law as literature examine the law using the tools of literary analysis. The scholarship in this subfield is dominated by the discussion of narrative texts: confessions, victim-impact statements, and, above all, the judicial opinion. This article will argue that we can use some of the same tools to help us understand non-narrative texts, such as law codes and statutes.

Genres create expectations. We do not expect a law code to be literary. Indeed, we tend to dissociate the law ...