Integrating the antithetical spheres of law and literature
The fundamental recourse following a situation that adheres to the principalities of reductionism in legal realism is to supplement situational viscosity with a flavor of literary interpretation that can help humanize the difficult roads of legal discourse while pronouncing judgments on the altars of nature. Justice. When I fled the imaginative corridors of literature as a student and briefly as a teacher toward its antipodal determinism in approaching the study of law, I realized that the influx of literature and philosophy in the study of law is essential to understanding complex human problems and finding meaningful solutions. I have therefore always believed in its coexistence, imagining my social position as the future “literary lawyer” of Judge Posner, who can use literary criticism to interpret laws, question constitutional proposals, all this knowing that the social functions and cultural have been different for law and literature, but contributing to the logical flow of arguments in their best interests.
As one attempts to situate the importance of fiction in the study of law, it is necessary to first report the subjective choice of word art in framing issues or drafting in the event of a proposal legal and even in the conclusions followed.
The “constructive rhetoric”, as James Boyd White calls the law in his seminal text entitled “The Legal Imagination”, is a kind of meaning he gives to the otherwise dry subject, to put the threads of the imagination and promote a learning holistic in the study of law as literature or literature as law. The results might have been remarkable because very few legal and literary theorists have so far attempted to make sense of the spatial parameters of their subjects beyond the bounds set by the subject’s grammar. There is, however, a very thin difference between understanding law as literature and law in literature.
Legal education around the world for so many years has focused more on clinical subjects to shape law students as global elite citizens, while neglecting the whole paradigm shift from imagination to the practice. What I found fascinating about White’s book is the way he tells cases and explains legal theories. What is striking is his explanation of M’Naghten’s rule by quoting Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus.
According to M’Naghten’s rule, everyone is presumed to be sane until proven otherwise and the act must be followed by a lack of reason caused by mental illness and the person must be unaware of the nature of his or her crime. White says that in Doctor Faustus he blasphemes a God who exists, he knows it and also knows his error.
He is given a chance to repent and he rejects the offer. It can never be the criminal or mad mind and the damnation presented in the play only shows that there is no feeling of disbelief in God, but hatred towards him. The author correlates the Ferrin v. People case where a young boy shot his brother with an Emily Dickinson poem, “A Bird Came Down to Walk”, where the emphasis is again on measure in which the defense of insanity can be used in criminal jurisprudence. .
He finally says that “the central frustration of writer and lawyer, the perpetual decay of language in your hands as you try to use it”. and one can understand that the paralysis of thought processes operates in a similar way when a lawyer writes the memoirs and prepares his memoir or when an author writes the characterization and puts the layers into it.
Judge AK Sikri in his article titled “Mystifying but Inevitable Relationship Between Law and Literature”, proposes that judges should be artists and each judge should have his own style while delivering judgments ranging from Shakespeare quote to Kafka, judges from across the subcontinent and around the world have reflected on the need to incorporate the finer nuances and linguistic aesthetics into their judgments. In Supreme Court Advocates On Record Association and Another v. Union Of India, the Court quoted “Measure for Measure” by William Shakespeare:
“We begin with a caveat, thus:
O, it is excellent To have the strength of a giant;
but it is tyrannical to use it as a giant.
Oscar Wilde, one of Ireland’s greatest literary giants, experienced firsthand the tyranny of a flawed justice system and wrote in his final poem, “The Ballad of Reading in Prison”:
“We don’t know if the laws are fair
Or if the laws are wrong
All we know who lie in jail
Are the walls strong
And every day is like a year
A year whose days are long.
While departing from the need to find the law in literature, there are various elements of constitutional jurisprudence that can be explained well with the support of literature. American freedom of speech is a “free exchange of ideas”, as it is pronounced Abrams v. United States Similarly, Wallace Stevens refers to freedom of expression and freedom of imagination as a blue guitar, a metaphor he uses in his poem “The Man with the Blue Guitar”.
Therefore, metaphors play an important role in law and literature, often standing at the junction of conflicting opinions, as explained by a “geistigen meinungskampf” or the intellectual struggle of opinions. The culture of literature in law has reached such a point that the humanities face a greater crisis even when they exist in a pluralistic society that invites the confluence of a myriad of ideas and accepts the freedom of to act beyond the discipline of the subject. The study of literature enables a deep sense of legal professionalism by granting the legal practitioner (in whatever capacity) the very deeply rooted ideas of ethics, morality and synchronization with surrounding social necessities, thereby bridging the gap between understanding the theory of law and the practical response to it. The timelessness of questions of justice finds a firm footing, as do the moral answers to the various innate questions of law. The legal system is changing all over the world and the right kind of literature only helps bring the law to every reading room. In the case of State against Babu, Ld. Additional sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat wrote a poem to justify his judgment. Some lines of the same are mentioned below:
“Babu pleads for his release on bail;
State opposing tooth and nail.
The summers have passed, the winters have arrived;
But you committed a crime and Rahul cried.
I’m not the only one, I’m not the only one;
The accusation is too serious, do not pretend.
Two other pieces of literature that have brought greater meaning to the existing logic behind studying literature with law are Franz Kafka’s ‘The Trial’ and Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Closer to home, Bengali author Koto Ajanare of Shankar talks about his own experience in the High Court in Calcutta as clerk to barrister Noel Frederick Barwell. John Wigmore’s pioneering article titled “A List of Legal Novels” would help readers find their best choice while choosing to understand the importance of literature to the study of law.
Thus, the reasoning of law is fortified by the application of literary sensibilities, brings a better sense of understanding for the common people and engages them to take more interest in the understanding of law. The diverse subjects and diverse histories brought from different countries help to give a solid foundation to legal case law in a country, often helps to render better judicial interpretation and that too in a country where cultures merge to form a united whole.
The entire thesis was beautifully explained by Pierre Boudieu, a French sociologist who calls it a magic society of words or Ferdinand de Saussure who considered law as a language, therefore a social product that could speak. Lawyers like Benjamin N. Cardozo also believe that the law is aided in the way it is accessible if there is help from literature, focusing on how narrative techniques help the judge write better judgments and to develop better judicial safeguards which must be imbued with clarity and comprehensibility.
Therefore, a justified interpretation is a huge benefit to the country’s legal system, but often launches the debate between the extent to which a question of law can be resolved by interpretation, often rendering the text sacred and often unusable, such as the thinks Umberto Eco, which may be contrary to the theory of originalism that is often necessary to interpret constitutional questions. However, this debate is for another day and it should only serve our purpose that the literature should be legally binding and never overlapping, this will help in the generation of the best judgements.