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Law's Cosmos
Juridical Discourse in Athenian Forensic Oratory


  • Date Published: January 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521110747

£ 86.99

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About the Authors
  • Recent literary-critical work in legal studies reads law as a genre of literature, noting that Western law originated as a branch of rhetoric in classical Greece and lamenting the fact that the law has lost its connection to poetic language, narrative, and imagination. But modern legal scholarship has paid little attention to the actual juridical discourse of ancient Greece. This book rectifies that neglect through an analysis of the courtroom speeches from classical Athens, texts situated precisely at the intersection between law and literature. Reading these texts for their subtle literary qualities and their sophisticated legal philosophy, it proposes that in Athens' juridical discourse literary form and legal matter are inseparable. Through its distinctive focus on the literary form of Athenian forensic oratory, Law's Cosmos aims to shed new light on its juridical thought, and thus to change the way classicists read forensic oratory and legal historians view Athenian law.

    • First book for four decades to approach Athenian forensic oratory systematically as a literary genre
    • Offers a new understanding of Athenian legal oratory and Athenian law
    • Provides fundamental insights both for classicists and for historians of law
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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521110747
    • length: 376 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 154 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface: before the law
    Introduction: the rhetoric of law
    Part I. The Boundaries of Legal Discourse:
    1. The world of law: oratory and authority
    2. Legal violence and the limit of justice
    Part II. The Legal Subject:
    3. Legal fictions: subjects probable and improbable
    4. Logos biou: law's life stories
    Part III. Time, Memory, Reproduction: Law's Past and Future:
    5. Civic amnesia and legal memory: remembering and forgetting in the lawcourts
    6. Family/law: legal genealogies
    Conclusion: the paradigmatic law.

  • Author

    Victoria Wohl, University of Toronto
    Victoria Wohl is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto. Her previously published work includes Love Among the Ruins: The Erotics of Democracy in Classical Athens (2002) and Intimate Commerce: Exchange, Gender, and Subjectivity in Greek Tragedy (1998).

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