Duquesne University School of Law


Elective Course
Enrollment Limit:  12
Course Requirement:  paper
Satisfies Upper Level Writing requirement
Fulfills Concentration Elective:  Religion & Moral Life

This course, which is divided into two parts (Law in Literature & Law as Informed by Literature), will foster an appreciation of law as a literary profession and the obligation of every lawyer to commit to a lifetime of reading, writing, learning and professionalism through the study of various literary texts. Readings will include classic works by Franz Kafka, Harper Lee, and Herman Melville, as well as contemporary authors, such as John Grisham, Saul Bellow, and modern judges and scholars. Topics covered during the first part include the depiction of law, the legal system and the role and humanity of lawyers in literature. Topics covered during the second part include the role of literature and narrative techniques to enhance persuasion. As part of this course, students will complete five short essay assignments, one creative writing assignment, and a substantial scholarly paper involving a topic of choice based on a text authorized by the Professor. The scholarly paper, which may be used to satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement, is worth 50% of the course grade (allocated as 35% for the final written paper and 15% for the oral presentation of the “work in progress” mid-semester). No previous background in the study of literature is required and certain class sessions will be devoted to reviewing the process of researching and writing a scholarly paper.

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