Representations of Law and the Nonfiction Novel: Capote's In Cold Blood Revisited

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The article describes the way in which law-related events are represented in Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Based on a narrative analysis, the paper will posit that In Cold Blood played a particular role in originating and shaping an innovative mode of representing law-related events, a mode that was widely employed since, in various artistic mediums and in popular culture. As the paper further elaborates, Capote's work paved new ways for challenging the conventional boundaries between "reality" and "fiction" with regard to the representation of law-related events. The paper will also maintain that in addition to its contribution to the law and literature discourse, In Cold Blood can be also seen as an early prototype to the digital legal spectacles that are now common. Revisiting In Cold Blood reveals not only its standing as originating model of many present-day cultural representations of the legal system in action, but also the essential difference between the almost unrestrainedly produced digital law-related content, to a artistic enterprise, characterized by poetic distinctiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-368
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal for the Semiotics of Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • In Cold Blood
  • Law and literature
  • Law and narrative
  • Representations of law
  • Representations of law in digital age
  • Truman Capote

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Law


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