Publication Date



Cardozo Law Review


This paper was offered as the keynote address at a conference in April of 2004 at the Cardozo Law School upon the 20th anniversary of the publication of Richard Weisberg's The Failure of the Word: the Protagonist as Lawyer in Modern Fiction (New Haven: Yale U Press, 1984). Weisberg first gives an account of the critical reception of his book, both in literary and legal circles and then situates the book - via a reading of Derrida's Force of Law - as inevitably troubling both to liberal readers such as Brook Thomas and more conservative ones such as Richard Posner. Failure of the Word, in adopting some post-modernist strategies of reading, nonetheless argues for the possibility of naming acts both of injustice and (more importantly) justice. The essay will be published (along with responses to it by Sanford Levinson and Robin West, and essays from Law and Literature scholars world-wide) in the Cardozo Law Review in early 2005.



First Page



Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law


law and literature



Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.