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 will inform our readings of the texts themselves, as well as our understanding of their representations of law. The writers whose work we will consider include James Fenimore Cooper, Herman Melville, Henry James, Nella Larsen, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, and Sherman Alexie. Each week, a novel or story will be paired with relevant legal and historical readings. We will also consider the points of contact between literary narrative and narrative in law. English Department cognate course. Special instructions: Course requirements include class attendance and participation, three short response papers, and two longer papers. For Research "R" credit, students may petition to complete one long paper based on independent research. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), which meets the R requirement, with consent of the instructor. Elements used in grading: Class participation, attendance, written assignments and final paper. Automatic grading penalty waived for writers.