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Authored by: Shreya Sharma (Student, NMIMS, Bangalore).

“Only literature could reveal the process of breaking the law – without which the law would have no end – independently of the necessity to create order.” –  Georges Bataille


In the eyes of the law, all are equal, and the same is true in literature. Literature humanizes people. While law sees us as subjects of legal exchange, literature brings out the humanity in us. Literature humanizes people for who they are. It brings to light the complex sides of what makes our humanity and not according to their race, creed, or status. Literature is experienced by imagination, ingenuity, variation and interpretation, and a profusion of genres. Law, on the other hand, for consistency, logical comprehension reach, a consistent pattern and manner of drafting, and a wide range of divisions.

Law and literature are not novel fields. Law and literature have a diverse and dynamic relationship. In recent years, the relation between law and literation got serious attention from the globe. International study always had a great interest in it. English lawyers and legal luminaries such as John Wigmore and Benjamin Cardozo in the nineteenth century wrote of Shakespeare, Dickens, and other popular authors’ representations of the legal system. 1973 lawyers have been encouraged to read the well-established authors to put perspective ideas of the human condition and everyday experiences after the publication of James Boyd White’s ‘The Legal Imagination’ in  There have been countless books and articles examining the role of law in Shakespeare’s plays or Dostoevsky’s, Melville’s, Kafka’s, and Camus’ novels.


If law and literature are compared, the idea of law is to regulate human relationships and peace. The literature documents human experiences and relationships and articulates them to the voice of creative freedom and passion. Law and Literature put into perspective the complexity that we innate, live with every day, and help us to sense this. It aids in comprehending the maze that is the human mind and subsequent actions, whether situational or otherwise.

“The study of law and literature can be categorized into two major types. ‘Law in Literature’ and ‘Law as Literature.’ As a representation of Law in Literature, we can take note of the definition of legal order in classics and dramas. Looking at it from the perspective of ‘Literature in Law,’ we use literary vocabulary and philosophy to describe these types of laws and cases. This is referred to as ‘law in literature.’ ”

In novels and dramas, ‘Literature in Law’ plays an important role. The value of law can be discerned through these media. We can appreciate the impact of law on society by studying it in literature. It compels us to think more profoundly about ourselves and our communities.  Looking at the subject ‘As Literature of Law,’ it has approaches that are understandable and explainable. We use clues and explanations to describe the law and its implications. The role of law can be understood through classics and dramas. The considerations literature in law and literature of law need not be that distinct from nature. Both works focus on how to treat literary vocabulary and the sense of law. In addition to these many similarities, there are many variations between law and literature.

Although Law and Literature are two distinct disciplines, both are human creations with “humans and society” as their study structure. That is why their lives are so intertwined. There are several classics on the topic of law that are still in print today. They explain the interactions between the law and society. Literature has made law worthy by writing about it in works such as “The Trial,” Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Kalamazoo, The Outsider, Le Rouge et le Noir, Tess, Bleak House, The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, and Les Miserables. It has outlined the relationship between law and human experiences. These two fields of research can vary, but they are fundamentally dealing with the same thing. So, we might assume that the fundamental contents of these two fields overlap in certain respects.

Law and literature have the same purpose. They are both concerned with the interaction between ‘society and culture’. Both of them are obligated to idealize people and society. Their primary role is to modify the world of humanity. Education, compassion, self-love, healing and humanize, are all functions of literature. People’s minds are inspired by literature. It lets us fantasize about an ethical and peaceful world.

The law must govern human conduct which if violated has repercussions. People will remember the penalty and then adhere to the rules. As a result, it seeks to keep society secure. While the law is a social science topic to resolve human conflict, if we want to solve the real problem, we must first understand what people are thinking. More importantly, we must have a high level of empathy and compassion for human beings. We are attempting to explore the upper limit of human nature. This is the fundamental purpose of law and literature.

The close relationship between law and literature is evident in their interpretation, reading, and expression methods. This relation is most visible as both employ the use of vocabulary and rhetoric. They both use human experiences. They represent the reality of the human world underneath their vocabulary. In the world, novels are very popular. Characters are created by the authors, who explain their complex positions in human relationships. They express the characters’ dialogue and emotions. They use rhetoric and a logical series of events to create a surprise ending.

Law and literature both use the same form of explanation. Literature uses literary vocabulary to present artwork. As its aim, it intends a consistent approach and the execution of the entire framework as part of the work’s artistic merit. Law theories, on the other hand, would follow two conditions. Law explanations must be useful. Because of this rule, the importance and significance of the profession must also be expressed. The importance and uniqueness of Literature and Law become clear as they are explained. Both of them discuss an intent to achieve their respective goals.

Law and literature use two distinct vocabularies. Literature is the culmination of humankind’s inspirations, desires, and emotions, all of which are brought together in this personalized commodity. It has a lot of passion and attitude. It reflects the writer’s thoughts and style. Jing-novels, Yung’s “The Woman in the Tower” and Franz Kafka’s “The Trial.” The best part of Franz Kafka’s novel “The Trial” was not the enemies of justice, but the fallacy of the legal system. It emphasizes the significance of a logical structure. People can be murdered at any moment if there is no proper justice system.

The primary goal of literature is to build imagination. However, some of them are based on true tales that have been adapted into novels.  Literature has a rational aspect to it. These classics drew attention to society’s difficult-to-solve problems. They affected their readers. They expressed the writers’ desires and intentions.

Literature is more than just telling stories and gossiping. Literature reflects human empathy for the harsh and difficult life. It is a unique sound. When Literature is used in the songs of the world, or the mouths of political parties and the newspapers, it becomes nothing more than a medium.  Then literature ceases to serve its original purpose.


The rule of law governs human conduct. It should be stable and consistent. It should collect people’s intelligence to achieve the aim of order and peace. We may enact justice legislation under these auspices. Even though a few popular classics were written by multiple people, works of law fall under more general authorship because they represent the entire society and its history.

Classics emerged from all walks of life. Great classics can emerge from any period or setting. Great classics will appear at any time, whether it is a time of war or peace. Outstanding works, on the other hand, seem to emerge in an exceptionally cruel world. Law is the standard that governs civilization. However, if the universe were cruel, there would be no room for law. Only dictators can exist. The rule thus becomes the dictators’ primary weapon of tyranny. Only in a stable society does the rule of law work.

Literature may be limited by law. Although literature is only a work of fiction, the law restricts the actions of authors and the characters of books. Human law confers authority and responsibility on authors as well as the characters of their books. When they publish, authors have a duty not to harm real people in the real world. The characters in the novel, especially those who condemn the actions of others, should be fictitious; real names and real persons from the real world should not be used.

By comparing Law and Literature, we can see how two disparate topics can coexist. These classics are used to educate lawyers. It makes them more sensitive to culture and civilization. Human action is governed by the rule of law. The objects of law are constrained by real society. However, it is the same case for Literature. The limitless Literature will provide insight and guidance to legal professionals. Law students can improve their writing skills by reading classics. The more critical point is that we learn from literature’s empathy and sympathy. Its riches invade our lives, and by it, ‘literature makes us conscious.’  

Author(s) Name: Shreya Sharma (NMIMS, Bangalore)



  1. Richard A. Posner, ‘Law and Literature: A Relation Reargued’ [1986], 72 Virginia Law Review, (June 5, 2021, and 11:00 PM)
  2. John W. Salmond, ‘The Literature of Law‘, [1922], Vol. 22, Columbia Law pp. 197-208 (June 6, 2021, and 11:00 AM)
  3. Harmik Vaishnav, ‘Literature and Law: MIRRORS FACING EACH OTHER‘, International Journal of Law and Legal Jurisprudence Studies, (June 5, 2021, and 10:00 PM)
  4. Li-Ching Chang, ‘The Research of Comparison between Law and Literature: As Illustrated by Kafka’s “The Trial”’, (first published 2008) (June 4, 2021, and 11:00 PM)

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