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Trial and error: an Oxford anthology of legal stories

Trial and error: an Oxford anthology of legal stories

Law of America > Law of the United States > Federal law. Common and collective state law Individual states > Constitutional law > Sources and relationships of law > International and municipal law. Treaties and agreements

Edition Details

  • Creators or Attribution (Responsibility): Fred R. Shapiro, Jane Garry
  • Biografical Information: About the Editors:
    Fred R. Shapiro is Associate Librarian for Public Services and Lecturer in Legal Research, Yale Law School, and editor of The Oxford Dictionary of Legal Quotations. Jane Garry is Acquisitions Editor for Greenwood Publishing Group.
  • Language: English
  • Jurisdiction(s): New York (State)
  • Publication Information: New York : Oxford University Press, 1998
  • Publication Type (Medium): Fiction, Short stories
  • Material: Fiction
  • Type: Book
  • Permalink: http://books.lawi.us/trial-and-error-an-oxford-anthology-of-legal-stories/ (Stable identifier)

Additional Format

Online version: Trial and error. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998 (OCoLC)707393415

Short Description

XI, 479 pages ; 23 cm

Purpose and Intended Audience

Useful for students learning an area of law, Trial and error: an Oxford anthology of legal stories is also useful for lawyers seeking to apply the law to issues arising in practice.

Research References

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Bibliographic information

  • Responsable Person: edited by Fred R. Shapiro and Jane Garry.
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Country/State: New York (State)
  • Number of Editions: 6 editions
  • First edition Date: 1998
  • Last edition Date: 1998
  • General Notes: Includes index.
  • Languages: US English
  • Library of Congress Code: KF4581
  • Dewey Code: 823.0080355
  • ISBN: 0195095472 9780195095470
  • OCLC: 37043878

Publisher Description:

The courtroom has always contained many of the elements of great literature–conflict, suspense, high drama, and human tragedy. Indeed, the courtroom is a stage on which the noblest passions and basest instincts are played out before a jury who, much like the readers of a story or a novel,
must interpret the evidence and formulate a judgment. It is not surprising, then, that law has attracted writers from Sophocles to Joyce Carol Oates, and that some of the most compelling moments in fiction arise from legal conflicts, for the law raises many of the most fundamental human issues: How
can we know the truth? How do we decide between mercy and punishment? How can the impersonal machinery of the legal system protect the rights of the individual?
In Trial and Error: An Oxford Book of Legal Stories, Fred R. Shapiro and Jane Garry bring together thirty-two riveting stories, excerpts from novels, and nonfiction essays about the human dimensions of the law. From Sir Walter Scott's “The Two Drovers” (1827), to Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson
Before Dying (1993), the selections gathered here VIvidly dramatize the legal process. We see the law as a vehicle of frustration and inertia in Dickens's Bleak House, as a baffling affront to common sense in Mark Twain's Roughing It, as a forum for humiliation and cruelty in Robert Louis
Stevenson's Weir of Hermiston, as a cynical and racist form of expediency in James Alan McPherson's “An Act of Prostitution,” and as a battleground for the possession of a child in Sue Miller's The Good Mother. Here we find lawyers, criminal defendants, litigants, clients, judges, police, jurors,
and witnesses, all of them depicted with veracity and insight. Many of the writers in this anthology either practiced or studied law, or were themselves involved in litigation
those who weren't, apply powers of observation to a process that affects us all. Thus, from George Eliot, Herman
Melville,Anthony Trollope, and Frank O'Connor to William Faulkner, George Orwell, Nadine Gordimer, Louis Auchincloss, Phillip Roth, Elizabeth Jolley, and many others, this collection allows us to grasp more clearly the inner workings of the law, its effect on the human psyche, and the enormous
tensions created by mankind's attempt to impose order and justice on social relations that often remain chaotic, defiant, and ungovernable.
With a sharply ILluminating preface that explores the connections between literature and law, and with a helpful headnote for each selection, Trial and Error puts readers in the jury box as some of the greatest writers in the English language make their cases.

Main Contents

The two drovers / Sir Walter Scott
from Bleak house / Charles Dickens
from Adam Bede / George Eliot
from Roughing it / Mark Twain
from Lady Anna / Anthony Trollope
from Billy Budd / Herman Melville
from Weir of Hermiston / Robert Louis Stevenson
The cop and the anthem / O. Henry
from The Forsyte saga / John Galsworthy
A jury of her peers / Susan Glaspell
The witness for the prosecution / Agatha Christie
The letter / W. Somerset Maugham
The majesty of the law / Frank O'Connor
Shooting an elephant / George Orwell
Tomorrow / William Faulkner
And, or / Sterling A. Brown
Happy event / Nadine Gordimer
Greenhouse with Cyclamens I / Rebecca West
from The floating opera / John Barth
Eli, the fanatic / Philip Roth
from To kill a mockingbird / Harper Lee
Mr. Portway's practice / Michael Gilbert
The senior partner's ghosts / Louis Auchincloss
from The naked civil servant / Quentin Crisp
from The French lieutenant's woman / John Fowles
An act of prostitution / James Alan McPherson
A gentleman's agreement / Elizabeth Jolley
from The sorcerer of Bolinas Reef / Charles A. Reich
from The good mother / Sue Miller
from The bonfire of the vanities / Tom Wolfe
American appetites / Joyce Carol Oates
A lesson before dying / Ernest J. Gaines.

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Unstructured Subjects (Headings):



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  • Article Name: Trial and error: an Oxford anthology of legal stories
  • Author: Roy Walek
  • Description: Trial and error: an Oxford anthology of legal stories Law of America > Law of the United States > Federal law. Common and [...]

This entry was last updated: May 19, 2016


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