Journal article

Ambivalent Affines: Law Like Literature

K Birrell

Law Culture and the Humanities | Published : 2020


This short essay will dwell upon the ‘law of literature and the literature of law’, as illuminated in the enduring scholarship and intellectual legacy of Peter Fitzpatrick. Reading with Fitzpatrick, we must grapple with a law that is both constituted and subverted by recourse to the supplement of fiction. These ambivalent ‘affines’, law and literature, share in an oscillatory rhythm: each is constituted and enlivened by an unbounded exteriority, yet each must be rendered normatively determinate. I reflect upon the ways in which Fitzpatrick’s account of ‘law like literature’ grasps and hones the methodological challenge implicit in this reading: to read law as literature and literature as law..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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