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English Law and Literature, University of Iowa

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posted on 2022-07-06, 16:23 authored by Post Discipline AdminPost Discipline Admin
English Law and Literature will explore relationships between English law and English literature at the historical, practical, imaginative, and theoretical levels. Students will read novels, short stories, plays, poems, and nonfiction works. The earliest piece that will be assigned was written by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1387, the most recent piece was written by a barrister working in London in 2018, and the selection is intended to provide a diverse cross-section of English literary writings that engage with and are shaped by English law. Students will consider and discuss the depiction of law and jurisprudential questions in these varied works of literature. What insights can works of literature contribute to the study of law? In what ways does literature enhance our understanding of the law? How does literature contribute to how we grapple with the larger jurisprudential issues in the law? The course will also address legal opinions and arguments from a literary lens—i.e., judicial decisions as works of literature. What similarities does law share with literature? How does focusing on the construction of narratives by lawyers and judges contribute to our understanding of the law? What role do rhetoric and style play in the crafting of judicial opinions? For a recent news article describing the significance of this new course, see: This information has been collected for the Post-Discipline Online Syllabus Database. The database explores the use of literature by schools of professional education in North America. It forms part of a larger project titled Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities, led by Dr Merve Emre with the assistance of Dr Hayley G. Toth. You can find more information about the project at Data was collected and accurate in 2021/22.


Subject Area


Geographic Region

West North Central

University or College

University of Iowa

Funding Status


Annual Tuition and Mandatory Fees 2021-2022 ($) (Resident; Non-resident, where applicable)

29132; 48747

Course Title

English Law and Literature

Terminal Degree of Instructor(s)


Position of Instructor(s)

Professor of Law

Academic Year(s) Active

2020/21, 2021/22

Course Enrolment


Primary Works on Reading List

Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales (likely).

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