English 120 - Fall, 2014

Law & Literature

Class Information

Instructor: Dolan, Frances
CRN: 64393
Time: MWF 10:00-10:50
Location: 126 Wellman


    This course welcomes majors and non-majors. It fulfills the following General Education Requirements: Arts & Humanities; American Cultures, Governance & History; Domestic Diversity; Oral Skills; World Culture; and Writing Experience.

    We will read legal documents (such as witness testimony, statutes, proclamations, supreme court decisions, and trial transcripts) as literary texts. We will also think about how the law inspires literature, including plays, poems, short stories, novels, and a graphic novel. The reading will be varied and rewarding but not overwhelming. Topics addressed will include murder, evidence, detection, and criminal law; sexuality; inheritance and marriage law; racial justice; and outlaws. While students may write conventional critical papers if they choose, there will also be opportunities to draw on legal texts to shape their own creative works.


    Paper/project #1: 20%
    Oral presentation: 15%
    Midterm: 15%
    Paper/project #2: 25%
    Final: 25%


    Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace
    William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
    Moises Kaufman, Gross Indecency
    Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
    Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning
    Alan Moore, The Watchmen