Lawyers and Literature
| Spring | 2019 |
The assigned readings for each class can be found on the course website. or in a packet of Xeroxed stories provided to you at our first class.
The assigned reading will be noted by (double square bullets).
A single square bullet is used to direct you to Instructor's Notes, Biographical Notes, and other work by or about the author of the assigned reading.
The assigned readings that are not available online will be provided to you. Assigned text that are online can be accessed by the [online text] link that follows the assigned reading. Instructor's Notes and Supplemental Readings are not required reading.
I have included notes, in various forms, about the assigned readings and you are encouraged to pursue these notes as time, and energy, permit. You may peruse the notes and find that your time is better spent focusing on the assigned literary reading.
For some of the stories and assignments, I will provide relevant supplemental readings. These readings will be signaled as follows: Supplemental Reading
I will also, sparingly, present Supplemental Videos. For an array of videos relevant to the course see: Reading the Course Through Videos. For a short compilation of videos on writing that you may have relevant to the course, see: a video (and audio) tour of a course of reading and writing
Following each week's class, I will move the week's assignment from the Assignments page of the course website to an Archives page; this will allow you to keep track of our progress in the course.
I will generally post assignments a week or two in advance. If you are interested in course readings that extend beyond the posted assignment, I will try to provide you with an update on scheduled readings. If you need information about future assignments, please let me know.
I have never quite settled, in theory or in practice, on exactly and precisely what I should tell you as we get the course underway. It is possible, I realize, that you may have far less interest in where and how we begin than I do! My hope is that the idea of a course like Lawyers and Literature stirs the imagination and rouses you to ask: What is this course? What is it all about? What kind of place does the instructor think Lawyers and Literature is supposed to have in my education as a lawyer? In response to these questions (and other I cannot pretend to imagine), you should peruse Chapters 5, 6, and 7 in the "little book," Stories in the Education of a Lawyer, that I have posted on the course website.
As we begin the course, you will want to peruse the course website. I don't expect you to read everything presented on course website, and I suspect that some of my commentary will undoubtedly be more useful to you as we get the course underway.
When you use the course website and find links that don't work, contact me and I will try to see that the link is promptly fixed.
I hope you enjoy the course.
Thinking about the Course
Lawyers and Literature is, in my estimation, and in this you will not be surprised, an important course. You, of course, will obviously be the ultimate judge as to whether this claim is merit worthy. I have tried to present introductory comments and observations about the course you will find useful. Some of these observations will take on deeper meaning after we have had an opportunity to read some stories together, and you get a better feel for what we are trying to do. For a basic introduction to the course, I think you will find the following of interest:
Robert, and His Fellow Escape Artists
Postscript: Nietzsche argues that both Aeschylus and Sophocles disguised or failed to disclose information that the audience which had gathered to wtiness the drama to be enacted for them might be expected to know. Nietzsche observes that the dramatists "used the subtlest devices to furnish the spectator in the early scenes, and as if by chance, with all the necessary information. They had shown an admirable skill in disguising the necessary structural features and making them seem accidental." Nietzsche claims that Euripides had found that during the early scenes of the drama the spectators "were in a peculiar state of unrest—so concerned with figuring out the antecedents of the story that the beauty and pathos of the exposition were lost on them. For this reason he introduced a prologue even before the exposition, and put it into the mouth of a speaker who would command absolute trust." Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy 80 (New York: Anchor Books, 1956). You may consider my various efforts to write about the Lawyers and Literature course, in the chapters of Stories in the Education of Lawyers, a prologue for our work in the course.