ENGL 324 Renaissance Law and Literature


In this class, we will read a range of literature that explores the complex relationship between law, justice, and the imagination. We will ask: how does law become an imaginative resource for authors? How do literary depictions of the law reflect back on some of the law’s most difficult philosophical problems? We will also focus on how law and justice themselves require a literary imagination. Topics may include: the role of mercy in law and justice; the law’s treatment of difference, whether it be religious, ethnic, social, sexual, or gendered; the law’s ability to create (or destroy) communities; and the surprising connections between the language of law and the language of love.

Prerequisite: Any 200-level literature course or permission of the instructor