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10 Cardozo L. Rev. 2099 (1988-1989)
Book Review

handle is hein.journals/cdozo10 and id is 2117 raw text is: BOOK REVIEW

by Richard A. Posner
Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1988
371 pages; $25.00
Reviewed by Judith Schenck Koffler *
This is not a bad book to take to Cancun. Lying on the beach
with Posner in hand, readers in bathing costume may find themselves
entertained, edified, and somewhat less inviting to other featherless
bipeds, native and foreign, that frequent the Caribbean coast. In
short, Judge Posner's Law and Literature,1 elsewhere hailed as anti-
dote to left-wing excesses of the law and literature movement,2 may
provide even greater immunities-indeed, it may be a defense against
certain assaults of life.
A defense against the assaults of life-I recall one of my old
literature professors saying that this was the definition of literature
itself. If so, it may be worth exploring whether Posner's book is, in
fact literature: the product of a fabulous imagination, with plots, pro-
tagonists, conflicts, themes, a network of symbols, many levels of
meaning, but above all a narrative, which at its literal level, has no
relation to reality.
Now, at its surface level, at least in the tropical sun, Posner's
work seems cleverly written and dazzlingly annotated. This is fine
vacation reading: colorful, provocative, deploring the trade school
mentality of legal academia, poking fun at a number of fellow legal
scholars and rescuing certain literary masters (no mistresses here)3
such as Homer, Shakespeare, Kafka, Marlowe, and Dickens, from the
clutches of tendentious amateurs, parasites, hacks, quacks, and op-
portunists, making the world safe once more for Cliffs Notes.4
But even after a Caribbean tour with Posner, the book leaves a
• Professor of Law, Pace University; Visiting Professor of Law, University of Texas.
I R. Posner, Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation (1988).
2 See DeMuth, The Pen and the Scales, Wall St. J., Feb. 15, 1989, at A12, col. 1.
3 And no female pronouns either. See Posner's view of feminist grammarians as coercive
censors, R. Posner, supra note 1, at 311.
4 Or is it Monarch Notes?


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