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By Peter Schneck

The ebook follows the altering courting and extreme debates among legislations and literature in U.S. American tradition, via discussing exemplary novels by means of Charles B. Brown, J. Fenimore Cooper, Harper Lee, and William Gaddis. because the early American republic, the serious illustration of criminal concerns in literary fictions and cultural narratives concerning the legislation served a tremendous functionality for the cultural mind's eye and legitimation of legislations and justice within the usa. some of the most crucial questions that literary representations of the legislations are interested in is the volatile relation among language and fact, or, extra in particular, among rhetoric and facts.

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By Peter Schneck

The ebook follows the altering courting and extreme debates among legislations and literature in U.S. American tradition, via discussing exemplary novels by means of Charles B. Brown, J. Fenimore Cooper, Harper Lee, and William Gaddis. because the early American republic, the serious illustration of criminal concerns in literary fictions and cultural narratives concerning the legislation served a tremendous functionality for the cultural mind's eye and legitimation of legislations and justice within the usa. some of the most crucial questions that literary representations of the legislations are interested in is the volatile relation among language and fact, or, extra in particular, among rhetoric and facts.

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What I called the predicament of literary representations of the law results from the inherent ambivalence of this similarity of legal and literary rhetoric in respect to their institutive self-authorization. For while it allows literature to assume jurisdiction over the law in representing the law and thus to assert literary evidence over and against legal evidence, the close affinity between literary and legal self-authorization also threatens to expose, and therefore to challenge, literature’s own ‘mystical’ foundation of authority.

As long as there is a common element, or, better, instrument, which poetical speech shares with rhetoric proper, literary evidence still retains a relation to rhetorical means of persuasion. Even if poetry does not aim at persuasion, its evidence can be persuasive. Metaphors may realize a rhetorical function even where they are meant to be poetical (and vice versa). 57 Ricœur, Rule of Metaphor, 12. 28 Chapter 1 Rhetoric always remains the common foundation of all linguistic evidence that becomes functionally differentiated in different discursive practices.

Nevertheless, the various approaches that embrace the rhetoricity thesis also differ markedly in their reactions and their conceptual conclusions. One reaction is to favor literature over the law as the better, more humane, and inherently ethical form of communal rhetoric. Another reaction is to demand the institution of a critical counter-rhetoric within the law in order to reflect on and possibly correct legal constructions of evidence and justice. These claims are rejected by yet another perspective on the rhetoricity thesis, which insists that there is no way to use rhetoric to make rhetoric more true and that the different forms of legal and literary rhetoric are the inevitable result of their institutional practice.

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