By Brook Thomas
In move Examinations of legislation and Literature Brook Thomas makes use of felony idea and criminal perform as a lens during which to learn the various very important fictions of antebellum the USA. The lens displays either methods, and we study as a lot concerning the literature within the context of up to date felony issues as we do concerning the felony ideologies that the fiction subverts or unearths. Successive chapters take care of Cooper's Pioneers and Hawthorne's the home of 7 Gables (property legislation and a twin of the judiciary), Melville's "Benito Cereno" and Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (slavery), Melville's White Jacket, Pierre and "Bartleby" (worker exploitation or salary slavery), The Confidence-Man (contracts), and at last, "Billy Budd," which examines a few concerns illustrative of the triumph of criminal formalism after the Civil battle.
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Additional resources for Cross-Examinations of Law and Literature: Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe, and Melville
31 In light of such accounts, w e can see to what extent Cooper's opening description in The Pioneers is an imaginative construct. N e w York State in the 1820s does not seem to have been an agrarian community based on the "permanent improvements of the yeoman, w h o intends to leave his remains to moulder under the sod he tills" (Pioneers 16). Yet without imagining such a community, Cooper would have had no foundation for his ideal political system. And if he was to imagine that community as a present possibility, he needed to imagine that the rightful owner of the land was someone w h o resisted the tendency to turn it into a c o m modity.
A first developer, Judge Temple is one of those Christians who "dispossessed the original owners of the soil" (83) and who now use the law to protect their claims to the soil. Faced with this irreconcilable difference between what the law purports to do and what it does, Cooper imagines a fictional solution that contains the threat of the potential contradiction that his narrative has exposed in Temple's legal ideology. The land is not the Indians' after all. They had given it as a gift to Edwards's grandfather, who had passed it on to Edwards's father, a friend of Temple.
In transferring ownership of the land from his representative founding Federalist to the son of a Loyalist, Cooper betrayed a nostalgia that idealized a pre-Revolutionary past. Despite his talk, Judge Temple is not a man of the land in the same THE PIONEERS: SOURCES OF LEGAL HISTORY 39 way that Edwards is. Edwards, who can live comfortably in both Temple's mansion and Natty's hut, represents the British agrarian tradition, which distrusted the commercialization of the land as much as Cooper did.
Cross-Examinations of Law and Literature: Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe, and Melville by Brook Thomas