Legal Narrative Constructions
This chapter argues that stories are not events in the world, but the way we tell events, a crucial distinction sometimes unrecognized in legal opinions. This issue is studied through the Sherlock Holmes detective story model, and then through historian Carlo Ginzburg’s reflections on the “huntsman’s paradigm” and the workings of “retrospective prophecy.” The chapter then turns more closely to the analysis of narrative, particularly the end-determined nature of narrative meaning, and to the one Supreme Court case that discusses narrative in an analytic way: Justice Souter’s opinion in Old Chief v. U.S. Further examples are drawn from rape adjudication (Rusk v. Maryland) and postconviction petitions for relief (Mickens v. Taylor). If narrative, telling the facts, plays so important a role in law, shouldn’t the law arm itself with more tools in the analysis of narrative?
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.