Law and Literature

The turn to the aesthetic in legal scholarship can often represent a yearning to reconnect in some physical or sensible way to ideals underlying notions of justice, freedom and liberty. Law and literature scholarship explores the aesthetic dimension of law, and in doing so, traces its appeal to the imagination, to lived experience, to the senses, emotions and to our faculties of judgment. Rhetoricians have always known that law depends on this aesthetic dimension for its persuasive force. Like other forms that we more readily associate with the arts – poetry, the visual arts, music and of course literature – law is culturally embedded. Legal culture is itself simultaneously a co-producer and by-product of the arts, such that the judgments of law and the imaginings of literature (and equally the imaginings of law and the judgments of literature) speak to each other across an invisible divide.

Papers and performances are welcomed on any aspect of what is widely-defined as law and literature.


Julia J A Shaw ( and David Gurnham (