White’s groundbreaking law and literature text has been reissued by Wolters Kluwer with a new foreword by the author.
First published in 1973, The Legal Imagination helped pioneer the law and literature movement, by breaking convention and urging students to understand the law beyond memorization, "to trust and follow their curiosity" and to come to terms with the nature and potential limits of legal language. In this anniversary edition, the new foreword introduces the original unabridged text, and challenges a new generation of readers to understand the language of the law through the prism of literature.
"When we first published The Legal Imagination, it was groundbreaking and inspirational to a generation of legal faculty and students seeking to resituate the foundations of law in language and the human experience," commented Joe Terry, Publisher of the Legal Education group within Wolters Kluwer.
"Over the ensuing decades, thousands of leading legal thinkers were profoundly influenced by the title. The ongoing evolution in the law school community today is bringing the educational focus back to the perspectives that lie at the heart of The Legal Imagination," said Terry.
White encourages the reader to analyze legal and non-legal literature, including excerpts from Robert Frost, Plato, James Joyce, Albert Camus, Leo Tolstoy, and Emily Dickinson. By juxtaposing examples of legal writing alongside poetry, philosophy, and literary criticism, White frames thought-provoking discussions on topics that intersect both legal and non-legal discourse.
“Although this book was published 45 years ago, I think that it may be of wider relevance now than it was then, for its central concern is with integrity—integrity of the law, of language and of the individual person,” said author James Boyd White.