Law's Stories - Brooks, Peter; Gewirtz, Paul - Yale University Press
Literary Studies
Political Science

Law's Stories

Narrative and Rhetoric in the Law

  • Edited by Peter Brooks and Paul Gewirtz
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Out of Print.

The law is full of stories, ranging from the competing narratives presented at trials to the Olympian historical narratives set forth in Supreme Court opinions. How those stories are told and listened to makes a crucial difference to those whose lives are reworked in legal storytelling. The public at large has increasingly been drawn to law as an area where vivid human stories are played out with distinctively high stakes. And scholars in several fields have recently come to recognize that law's stories need to be studied critically.

This notable volume—inspired by a symposium held at Yale Law School—brings together an exceptional group of well-known figures in law and literary studies to take a probing look at how and why stories are told in the law and how they are constructed and made effective. Why is it that some stories—confessions, victim impact statements—can be excluded from decisionmakers' hearing? How do judges claim the authority by which they impose certain stories on reality?

Law's Stories opens new perspectives on the law, as narrative exchange, performance, explanation. It provides a compelling encounter of law and literature, seen as two wary but necessary interlocutors.


J. M. Balkin

Peter Brooks

Harlon L. Dalton

Alan M. Dershowitz

Daniel A. Farber

Robert A. Ferguson

Paul Gewirtz

John Hollander

Anthony Kronman

Pierre N. Leval

Sanford Levinson

Catharine MacKinnon

Janet Malcolm

Martha Minow

David N. Rosen

Elaine Scarry

Louis Michael Seidman

Suzanna Sherry

Reva B. Siegel

Robert Weisberg

Peter Brooks is Tripp Professor of Humanities and chair of the Comparative Literature Department at Yale University. Paul Gewirtz is Potter Stewart Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale Law School.