Friday, November 20, 2015

Rosenberg on the History of Genres in Law and Literature

Anat Rosenberg, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliyah-Radzyner School of Law, has posted The History of Genres: Reaching for Reality in Law and Literature, which appeared in Law & Social Inquiry 39 (2014): 1057-79:
Genres are historical formations; their ability to generate knowledge depends on their interrelationships within a culture. Since law, too, can be viewed as a genre, studies of specific historical relationalities between law and other genres are necessary for law’s own history and theory. This essay discusses differentiations between Victorian law and literature, starting out from the recent publication of Ayelet Ben-Yishai’s Common Precedents: The Presentness of the Past in Victorian Law and Fiction (2013), which reveals some of that history. I examine two points: differentiations in legal and literary approaches to probabilistic knowledge, and differentiations in the author functions in law and literature. These differentiations bear multiple implications. I discuss implications for evidence-law debates about probabilistic evidence, for contract-law debates about the centrality of autonomy and self-authorship, and for understandings of legal reasoning itself — the elusive notion of “thinking like a lawyer.”