Creating Legal Worlds: Story and Style in a Culture of Argument

By Greig Henderson

© 2015

A legal judgment is first and foremost a story, a narrative of facts about the parties to the case. Creating Legal Worlds is a study of how that narrative operates, and how rhetoric, story, and style function as integral elements of any legal argument.

Through careful analyses of notable cases from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Greig Henderson analyses how the rhetoric of storytelling often carries as much argumentative weight within a judgement as the logic of legal distinctions. Through their narrative choices, Henderson argues, judges create a normative universe – the world of right and wrong within which they make their judgements – and fashion their own judicial self-images. Drawing on the work of the law and literature movement, Creating Legal Worlds is a convincing argument for paying close attention to the role of story and style in the creation of judicial decisions.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP004124

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2018

    From: $26.21

    Regular Price: $34.95

    ISBN 9781487523800
  • PUBLISHED JUN 2015

    From: $39.00

    Regular Price: $52.00

    ISBN 9781442637085
  • PUBLISHED JUL 2015

    From: $39.00

    Regular Price: $52.00

Quick Overview

Through careful analyses of notable cases from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Greig Henderson analyses how the rhetoric of storytelling often carries as much argumentative weight within a judgement as the logic of legal distinctions.

Creating Legal Worlds: Story and Style in a Culture of Argument

By Greig Henderson

© 2015

A legal judgment is first and foremost a story, a narrative of facts about the parties to the case. Creating Legal Worlds is a study of how that narrative operates, and how rhetoric, story, and style function as integral elements of any legal argument.

Through careful analyses of notable cases from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Greig Henderson analyses how the rhetoric of storytelling often carries as much argumentative weight within a judgement as the logic of legal distinctions. Through their narrative choices, Henderson argues, judges create a normative universe – the world of right and wrong within which they make their judgements – and fashion their own judicial self-images. Drawing on the work of the law and literature movement, Creating Legal Worlds is a convincing argument for paying close attention to the role of story and style in the creation of judicial decisions.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.8in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘Creating Legal Worlds provides valuable insight into the role narrative takes in judgement writing… Litigators will receive insight as to how to frame their arguments but this book provides a reminder that the best story does not always match the law.’


    Allison Graham
    Saskatchewan Law Review vol 79:2016

    ‘I recommend Henderson’s book to legal historians as a salutary perspective-shift in which they will find much that is new and much that is “familiar, yet somehow strange” – and worth thinking about.’


    Angela Fernandez
    Jotwell: The Journal of Things we Like (LOTS) March2016

    ‘Creating Legal Worlds provides valuable insights into the role narrative takes in judgement writing… this book provides a reminder that the best story does not always match the law.’


    Allison Graham
    Saskatchewan Law Review vol 79:2016

    ‘This intriguing book provides an important understanding of legal writing—whether on the part of lawyers, judges, or police officers who are writing reports—and how to conceptualize and analyze it.’


    G.C. David
    Choice Magazine vol 53:07:2016

    Creating Legal Worlds is an admirable book, provocative and engaging, that recovers the richness and vitality of legal close reading.”


    Deak Nabers, Department of English, Brown University
  • Author Information

    Greig Henderson is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto.

  • Table of contents

    Introduction
    1. The Cost of Persuasion: Figure, Story, and Eloquence in the Rhetoric of Judicial Discourse 
    2. Pure and Impure Styles: Formalism and Pragmatism in the Language of Decision Writing
    3. The Perils of Analogy: Legal World-Making and Judicial Self Fashioning in Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad
    4. Murder, They Wrote: The Rhetoric of Causation in the Language of the Law
    5. Narrative Theory and the Art of Judgment: The Anatomy of a Supreme Court Decision
    6. The Look in his Eyes: Rusk v. State, State v. Rusk
    7. Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Law
    Postscript: Rhetoric, Postmodernism, and Scepticism