Law and Culture in American Fiction
This seminar examines the way literary texts register changes in property law, the law of contracts, intellectual property and legal constructions of race, gender, and privacy, especially as they relate to the maintenance of personal identity, community stability, and linguistic meaning. The terms and stakes of these relationships inform our readings of the texts themselves, as well as our understanding of their representations of law. The writers whose work we consider include James Fenimore Cooper, Herman Melville, Henry James, Nella Larsen, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, and Sherman Alexie. Each week, a novel or story is paired with relevant legal and historical readings. We also consider the points of contact between literary narrative and narrative in law.