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Cover of The UK Supreme Court Yearbook Volume 10: 2018-2019 Legal Year

The UK Supreme Court Yearbook Volume 10: 2018-2019 Legal Year

Edited by: Daniel Clarry
Price: £120.00

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Character: Writing and Reputation in Victorian Law and Literature

ISBN13: 9781474485708
To be Published: January 2022
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £85.00

Examines legal and literary narratives of personhood in the 19th century.

  • Traces the concept of character through related areas of law, cultural discourses of character and the formal structures of the novel
  • Offers new readings of works by Nathaniel Hawthorne, George Eliot, Anne Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskell, Anthony Trollope, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Analyses literary constructions of character in relation to specific legal cases and doctrines, including the right to silence, libel and privacy
  • Includes new work on Anthony Trollope’s topical and editorial interest in libel
  • Covers the relationship between libel, the development of privacy rights and emerging modernist aesthetics
  • Presents a transatlantic approach to select works and issues, including the right to silence and privacy

Why would Hawthorne and Eliot grant their fallen women an anachronistic right to silence that could only worsen their punishment? Why did Bronte and Gaskell find gossip such a useful source of information when lawyers excluded it as hearsay? How did Trollope’s work as an editor influence his preoccupation throughout his novels with libel?

Drawing on a range of primary sources including novels, Victorian periodical literature, legislative debate, case law, and legal treatise, Cathrine O. Frank traces the ways conventions of literary characterisation mingled with character-centred legal developments to produce a jurisprudential theory of character that extends beyond the legal profession. She explores how key categories and representational strategies for imagining individual personhood also defined communities and mediated relations within them, in life and in fiction.

Legal History, Law and Literature
Introduction: Character-Building: Narrative Theory, Narrative Jurisprudence and the Idea of Character
1. Incriminating Character: Revisiting the Right to Silence in 'Adam Bede' and 'The Scarlet Letter'
2. Gossip, Hearsay, and the Character Exception: Reputation on Trial in 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' and R v. Rowton
3. Defamation of Character: Anthony Trollope and the Law of Libel
4. Dignity, Disclosure and the Right to Privacy: The Strange Characters of Dr. Jekyll and Dorian Gray
5. The English Dreyfus Case: Status as Character in an Illiberal Age
Works Cited