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Law and the Brontës
"I write as a member of the legal academy. The 'law and literature' movement has been nurtured, in the main, from within this academy. Its commonly stated virtues tend to focus on how best to educate and sensitize law students, and this apparent insularity, has attracted critical commentary from within and without the legal academy. To some degree such a prejudice is to be expected. Everyone writes from somewhere. (...) The continuation of such disciplinary scepticism benefits no one".His approach to the novels of the Brontës is "unapologetically historicist", concerned with "moments of writing and moments of reception". His study selects from the Brontë Opus: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette. Only The Professor (which, nevertheless, is quoted in the text) and Agnes Grey are left out of the book. The critical outlines that define Ian Ward's approach are perfectly described by the author himself in the introduction:
[The Law and the Brontës] it seeks to excavate a subterranean literary jurisprudence through a close examination of one set of texts which enjoy an obvious if sometimes perplexing relation. It is, ultimately, a study of various kinds of interconnected exclusions, literary and legal. (...) And it is about one category of people who, for reasons of gener alone, were denied legal personality and cast, in effect, outside the common law of England.As we mentioned before the book begins with an introduction, where Ian Ward justifies his approach and selection of texts and offers a clear and convincing contextualisation of his project. Not only historically but also in the context of the ongoing conversation dialogue between nineteenth-century literature and law scholars. The book is structured, in the best law tradition, using cases - Brontë cases: