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Written by a renowned literary critic and legal historian, Practice Extended illuminates the intricacies of legal language and thought and the law's relationship to society, literature, and culture. Robert A. Ferguson details how judicial opinions are written, how legal thought and philosophy inform ideas, and how best to appreciate a courtroom novel. With chapters touching on a wide range of subjects, including immigration, eloquence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Supreme Court case over James Joyce's Ulysses, Practice Extended provides an ambitious argument for the importance of language in law and a much-needed analysis of the often vexed relationship between law and literature.
Ferguson challenges the notion of law as a hermetic enterprise only accessible to experts. He reveals the discipline's relationships to history, religion, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, and the visual arts, offering a rich account of how the law has shaped and has been shaped by communal thought. He also recognizes the critical role of literature and other outside views in showcasing the social problems that law takes up. Practice Extended reflects Ferguson's crucial role as a pioneer in developing the field of law and literature. His writing reminds us of the need for a critical approach to the law that draws on the insights of literature to better understand political and legal history and the documents, laws, and arguments that shape our present. At the same time, this volume also showcases the ways in which the law has been integrated into works of literature, from Billy Budd to contemporary courtroom thrillers.