Publication Details

Gomez Romero, L. (2013). Book Review: Desmond Manderson: Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law. The Legacy of Modernism. Routledge, Abingdon 2012.. No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice, 10 138-148.

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Humanities and Social Sciences


Kangaroo Courts represents the height of the recent work that Desmond Manderson has developed around the nexus between ‘law and literature’ and the rule of law. Manderson’s approach to this matter is unique in taking seriously both literary theory and the aesthetic aspects of literary texts—strange though it may seem, this is an authentic revolution in the field of law and literature. Manderson rightly observes that back to their very origins the discourses constructed around the conjunction of ‘law and literature’ have suffered from two structural weaknesses: first ‘a concentration on substance and plot’ and second ‘a salvific belief in the capacity of literature to cure law or perfect its justice’ (Manderson 2012a, 9). The first fails to question the ‘mimetic fallacy’ that regards the imitation of nature or reality as the main function of art (Manderson 2011, 108-118; 2012a, 10-17). The second fails to question the ‘romantic fantasy’ that sets the purpose of art in ‘healing the world’s wounds’ (Manderson 2011, 118-121; 2012a, 17-20).