Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Summer 2010 (July 21, 2010)

Law, Literature, and Therapeutic Jurisprudence

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July 21, 2010

Law, Literature, and Therapeutic JurisprudenceBy Amy D. Ronner’75

Carolina Academic Press

Durham, N.C., 2010

In Law, Literature, and Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Amy Ronner explores the overlap of two interdisciplinary movements: law and literature—the study and criticism of literary works that focus on law and legal themes—and therapeutic jurisprudence (TJ), which addresses the psychological and mental health aspects of the law with the aim of improving and humanizing the legal system.

As Ronner establishes, these two movements are remarkably compatible. Both celebrate humanity, value moral and ethical justice, encourage storytelling, and offer lessons in empathetic kindness.

Ronner takes a TJ approach to the analysis of literary works, showing that literary masters from Melville to Dostoyevsky conveyed messages synonymous with the themes of TJ. In her book’s five chapters, law, literature, and TJ are applied to criminal procedure, witch hunts (past and present), legal education, law practice, and utopianism.

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