Victorian-era law reports are often choppy or truncated, miserly in detail, and utterly lacking in character descriptions, creating what I have identified as an "anti-narrative" style. This article shows how the law reports use narrative conventions - often in counter-intuitive ways - to manifest the tension between a concrete case and the abstract rule which is its potential precedent. Incorporating a discussion of nineteenth-century theories of legal precedent and the history of common law reporting with a formal analysis, I contend that the insular "anti-narrative" form of the reports enables the communal nature and goal of precedential reasoning: the creation of a common law, dating from "time immemorial." It also reveals a legal doctrine - and a narrative genre - in crisis.
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||Law, Culture and the Humanities|
|State||Published - 2008|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)