Lawyers and Literature

| Spring | 2017 |


Getting Started

The assigned readings for each class can be found on the course website.

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.

I have included notes, in various forms, about the assigned readings and you are encouraged to pursue these notes as time, and energy, permit. I want to think the notes that follow the assignments will be of interest to a curious reader; some of 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 evening'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?

Peruse the course website. I don't expect you to read everything that is being made available to you on the index (opening page) of the course website. Some of this 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 prepare some introductory comments and observations about the course that I hope 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 get a better feel for what we are trying to do. For an introduction to the course, I hope you will read the following:

Lawyers and Literature: A Course of Reading

Working with Stories

The Course Q&A's (cont'd)

Postscript: Nietzsche argues that both Aeschylus and Sophocles disguised information about what had taken place in their dramas before the drama was presented for an the audience. 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 Lawyers and Literature, a prologue for our work in the course.

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