Item Details

A Fraught Inheritance: Legal Realism, Literary Realism, and the Forging of American Democracy

Khan, Almas
Format
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Author
Khan, Almas
Advisor
Ross, Marlon
Abstract
A Fraught Inheritance: Legal Realism, Literary Realism, and the Forging of American Democracy is the first extensive conceptualization of two seminal, contemporaneous movements in American law and letters. The project literarily and legally cross-examines the Reconstruction Amendments, which formally cemented equal citizenship rights in the Civil War’s wake, from the Amendments’ ratification through World War II. I construe the Amendments through the lenses of literary realism and legal realism, which are framed as dissenting intellectual movements. Both realisms emerged largely in response to statutes and judicial decisions that belied the Reconstruction Amendments’ egalitarian promise by intentionally or effectively subordinating people of color and the working class. My analysis couples legal texts that critiqued these laws with kindred literary works by Charles Chesnutt, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser, and Richard Wright. Despite criticisms of literary realism and legal realism’s overall complicity with an unjust status quo, a reading of the movements against the disciplinary grain demonstrates their social justice resiliency during the modern period as well as their formidable influence on equitable literary and legal developments into today.
Language
English
Date Received
20171024
Published
University of Virginia, Department of English, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2017
Published Date
2017-11-29
Degree
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Collection
Libra ETD Repository
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