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Cross-Examinations of Law and Literature Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe, and Melville by Brook (University of California, Irvine) Thomas

Cross-Examinations of Law and Literature Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe, and Melville


Part of the Cambridge Studies in American Literature and Culture Series


Cross-Examinations of Law and Literature Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe, and Melville by Brook (University of California, Irvine) Thomas

In Cross Examinations of Law and Literature Brook Thomas uses legal thought and legal practice as a lens through which to read some of the important fictions of antebellum America. The lens reflects both ways, and we learn as much about the literature in the context of contemporary legal concerns as we do about the legal ideologies that the fiction subverts or reveals. Successive chapters deal with Cooper's Pioneers and Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables (property law and the image of the judiciary), Melville's 'Benito Cereno' and Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (slavery), Melville's White Jacket, Pierre and 'Bartleby' (worker exploitation or wage slavery), The Confidence-Man (contracts), and finally, 'Billy Budd', which examines a number of issues illustrative of the triumph of legal formalism after the Civil War.


'A welcome addition to a fascinating area of study ...'

'By placing the familiar canonical works of Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe and Melville in a carefully defined relation with contemporary legal ideology, he has illuminated both the literature and the law and has helped recover a part of our cultural history.'
Donald A. Ringe, American Literature

About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

31st May 1991


Brook (University of California, Irvine) Thomas

More books by Brook (University of California, Irvine) Thomas
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Cambridge University Press


316 pages


Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers
Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
Cultural studies



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