Law and Literature




The Law & Humanities Institute (LHI) is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting interdisciplinary studies between law and the humanities.  The LHI sponsors various symposia and smaller gatherings (salons) throughout the year. 


This website is maintained by Professor Daniel Solove.  Please contact him if you would like to know more about LHI.  The LHI has a listserv for those who want to receive information about upcoming events.  If you're interested in joining the listserv, please contact Professor Solove.   







November 9, 2006

Villanova Law School

4 PM


Villanova University School of Law and Villanova University Department of English will be sponsoring the Inaugural Lecture of the Law and Literature Series at Villanova University.


On Thursday, November 9, 2006, at 4 p.m. in the Augustine Center's Room 300, Andrew Delbanco, Levi Professor in the Humanities and Director of American Studies at Columbia University will speak on "Melville, Our Contemporary."


Andrew Delbanco, Levi Professor in the Humanities and Director of American Studies at Columbia University, is the author of many books, including The Death of Satan: How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil, Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now, The Puritan Ordeal and, most recently, Melville: His World and Work.  His articles and review have appeared in the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement (London) and the New York Times Book Review.

The Inaugural Lecture begins a collaboration between the School of Law and the Department of English that will bring to Villanova's campus leaders in the field of law and literature for an ongoing series of lectures, symposia, and workshops.

If you have questions about the event, please contact Prof. Penelope Pether,




October 29, 2006

Cardozo Law School


This important interdisciplinary symposium will be held at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, 55 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10006 on Sunday October 29, 2006. Proceedings will be published in Law and Literature (University of California Press). Symposium participants will speak on topics including discourses on “terror,” emergent cultural stories in immigration and asylum litigation, the naturalization of torture and other technologies of investigation, and the rewriting of criminal procedure and civil rights beyond the margins.


The symposium is sponsored by Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, Law and Literature, and the Law and Humanities Institute.


Confirmed speakers are:


Simon Critchley, Philosophy, New School for Social Research

Simon Gearey, Law, Birkbeck College, London University

Peter Goodrich, Law, Cardozo/Yeshiva University

Ruth Miller, History, University of Massachusetts, Boston

John Parry, Law, Lewis and Clark University

Penelope Pether, Law, Villanova University

Nina Philadelphoff-Puren, English, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Joseph Pugliese, Critical and Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Anupama Rao, History, Barnard College

Michel Rosenfeld, Law, Cardozo/Yeshiva University

Renata Salecl, Law, London School of Economics

Adam Thurschwell, Cleveland-Marshall School of Law


Further information:

Penelope Pether, General Editor, Law and Literature

Professor of Law

Villanova University School of Law

(610) 519 7060



July 9-11, 2007

The University of Warwick will be hosting a conference about Shakespeare and the Law in July 2007.  Some of the speakers include Professors Peter Goodrich, Germaine Greer, Harry Keyishian, B.J. Sokol, Richard Weisberg, Jonathan Bate, and Daniela Carpi.  From the conference website:

The University of Warwick will host an international conference on Shakespeare and the Law from 9-11 July 2007 in association with Warwick Law School and The Capital Centre partnership between The University of Warwick and the Royal Shakespeare Company. The conference will provide a unique forum for scholarly discourse between the major humanities disciplines of law, literature and the performing arts. Confirmed speakers include several leading figures in Shakespearean Scholarship, theatre and the field of law and humanities.



June 15, 2006

Google now has a searchable online collection of all of Shakespeare's works.  It is called Google Shakespeare



June 14, 2006

Need a list of works about Shakespeare and the law?  Or about Kafka's The Trial?  Do you need to find legal scholarship about Dostoyevsky, Dickens, Faulkner, or others? 

If so, then you'll find our new bibliography to be quite handy.  This bibliography is of law and literature works about specific writers, organized by writer name and by literary work. 



May 21, 2006

We have added a new webpage to this site that contains a compilation of works of literature with legal themes.  It is far from complete, but it is a start.  We hope it will be useful.




April 23, 2006

Our resources page is now up and running.  We are planning to create a useful repository of resources for teaching and researching in law and the humanities. 

Right now, we have created links to law & humanities course syllabi that are on the Internet.  Please email me with your law & humanities syllabus (the link or a PDF/Word copy) and I'll add it to the page.

We hope to be expanding the resources page to include a variety of other resources.  We welcome any ideas and assistance in this endeavor.



Harvard Law School

Friday, April 28, 2006


Next week, Harvard Law School is holding a conference entitled Bloggership: How Blogs Are Transforming Legal Scholarship.

Paul Caron (law, Ohio State) of TaxProf Blog (and king of the Caron blogging empire) has put together a terrific array of speakers, including well-known bloggers such as Eugene Volokh, Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse, Orin Kerr, Larry Ribstein, Michael Froomkin, Christine Hurt, Daniel Solove, Larry Solum, Ellen Podgor, Doug Berman, Howard Bashman, Paul Butler, and many more.  

A group of bloggers, including Daniel Solove, will be hanging around for a bloggers-meet-readers event that Eugene Volokh is organizing for Thursday, April 27th at 9PM. Eugene Volokh has the details here, along with a list of bloggers who plan to attend.



Rights, Ethics, Law & Literature:
An International Colloquium

July 6-8, 2007

Swansea University School of Law, Wales

LHI and Swansea University in South Wales are co-sponsoring a very exciting Rights, Ethics, Law and Literature International Colloquium at the School of Law of Swansea University on Friday July 6- Sunday July 8, 2007.

This colloquium aims to bring together scholars expert in the intersections between law, literature, ethics and rights, to further debate on matters of current social, political and ideological importance. The interdisciplinary nature of the colloquium is intended to foster new perspectives on current concerns in the fields of ethics and rights.

Professor Melanie Williams has made a call for papers and panel chairs, and she proposes the following subjects: interdisciplinary approaches to post-colonial debates, identity and alienation, gender, aesthetics, popular culture, rhetoric and narrative, history, politics and science.

Swansea University is located on the beautiful coast of South Wales in the UK, and Swansea is known as the home of the poet Dylan Thomas. Wales is a home to the art and science of rhetoric, justice, and rights.

For further details of this colloquium please contact Professor Melanie Williams at email:


Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor on Appeal: 
Did Billy Receive a Fair Trial?


Thursday, March 23, 2006

NYC Bar Association, 42 West 44th Street

The Entertainment Committee of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and The Law and Humanities Institute, present the appeal of Billy Budd’s capital sentence.

This event continues a tradition at the New York City Bar of debating and “adjudicating” great stories about the law.  Billy Budd, Sailor, by Melville, whose last decades were spent in this City—and whose Bartleby, the Scrivener is set in a Wall Street law firm—challenges all thoughtful lawyers to ponder perennial issues of authority and conscience.  Among the issues presented by the story is whether and how far legal procedure may justly be modified in times of war, an issue alive and important today in connection with the “war on terror.”

Billy, an impressed sailor on a British Naval warship during the Napoleonic Wars, was tried and convicted by a drumhead court for the capital offense of striking the master-at-arms, a superior officer who had malevolently and falsely accused Billy of sedition.  But did the captain, who convened the court and acted as prosecutor, corruptly manipulate the legal process to secure a conviction?  Or was Billy’s conviction and capital sentence amply justified by the wartime conditions and the fear that leniency would threaten military discipline and the further conduct of the war?  These are a few of the questions explored by this mock appeal of Billy Budd’s capital sentence.


PROFESSOR RICHARD WEISBERG, Floersheimer Professor of Constitutional Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, and author of:  How Judges Speak:  Some Lessons on Adjudication in Billy Budd, Sailor with an Application to Justice Rehnquist, 57 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1 (1982)).  This program was designed by Clifford James, who represents Billy on appeal, and Prof. Weisberg.

A distinguished panel of judges will hear Billy’s appeal including both sitting and retired trial and appellate judges, practicing lawyers, academics, and journalists.


FLOYD ABRAMS, of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

HON. KENNETH CONBOY, former U.S. district court judge for the Southern District of New York, and now at Latham & Watkins LLP

HON. GEORGE C. PRATT, former U.S. judge of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. district court judge for the Eastern District of New York, and now at Farrell Fritz, P.C.

HON. JED S. RAKOFF, sitting U.S. district court judge for the Southern District of New York

EDWARD ROTHSTEIN, Critic at Large for The New York Times

PROFESSOR ELAINE SCARRY, Professor of English at Harvard University

BENNO C. SCHMIDT, JR., former dean of Columbia Law School and President of Yale University, currently Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York


The Navy will be represented by JEREMY G. EPSTEIN, of Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Billy will be represented by CLIFFORD JAMES, who has his own practice



December, 2005

Law & Literature

Vol. 17, No. 3 (Fall 2005)

Table of Contents

Peter Goodrich, Lex Laetans: Three Theses on the Unbearable Lightness of Legal Critique

Joseph Brooker, Satire Bust: The Wagers of Money

Katrin Trüstedt, Secondary Satire and the Sea-Change of Romance: Reading William Shakespeare's The Tempest

Paul Raffield, A Discredited Priesthood: The Failings of Common Lawyers and Their Representation in Seventeenth Century Satirical Drama

Björn Quiring, A Consuming Dish: Supplementing Raffield

Michèle Lowrie, Slander and Horse Law in Horace, Sermones 2.1

Simon Critchley, Satura Resartus: Living in the Woods with Bears



August 12, 2005

LHI is now sponsoring a new blog, called the Law & Humanities Blog.  Please check it out, bookmark it, and begin visiting.  The blog is in its infancy, and we hope that it will blossom over time into a useful resource for those interested in the intersection between law and the humanities.  Posts will be sporadic for the time-being, but will hopefully become more regular within the next few months.



August 11, 2005

LHI now has a website.  If you're reading this, you've found it.  This website is still under construction, but hopefully will be up and running soon.  Please check back for the latest news and events of LHI. 



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