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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on forms of literature that deal with the institutions and administration of criminal law, from detective fiction to courtroom novels. It explores how these literary forms experiment with the relations between real and imaginary crimes, and with narrative modes of tracing their origins and consequences. After providing a historical background, the chapter turns to academic research (law in literature, literature in law, law as literature, legal aesthetics), and offers two case studies (Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) to show how literature can open up questions about criminal law doctrines and the grounds on which they operate. The discussion concludes by considering the possibilities opened up by recent research in cognitive literary studies. The chapter also includes bibliographies of primary texts, critical literature, and web-based resources.

Keywords: literature, criminal law, detective fiction, courtroom novels, crimes, narrative, legal aesthetics, cognitive literary studies

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