July 28, 2006
One of the joys of being around law professors and law students is that they are an exceptionally articulate and literate group. One way in which these qualities manifest themselves is through art, principally writing. Lawyers and law professors have long produced significant works of art. Think of John Donne and Sir Thomas More, among many others. Has the law produced more artists than other professions? I don't know. That's an interesting empirical question. In contrast, there are only a few economists of whom I'm aware of having produced works of art: Wassily Kandinsky -- before turning to art he studied law and economics (!) and was offered a professorship in economics; Vikram Seth (who was a graduate student in economics at Stanford shortly after I was there and whose novels, poems, and memoirs are superb; see particularly A Suitable Boy, which is one of the longest novels ever published in English but of which each page is captivating) and, stretching to the business world, Wallace Stevens, who was an insurance executive by day and a great poet by night.
The list of contemporary writers who are also lawyers is dauntingly large -- Louis Auchincloss, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, John Grisham, and Elliot Perlman (whose Seven Types of Ambiguity I recommend very, very highly). And U.S. law professors are strongly represented, too. Stephen Carter of Yale published the highly enjoyable Emperor of Ocean Park in 2003; Paul Goldstein of Stanford, a distinguished scholar of IP, has just published Errors and Omissions, a wonderful mystery, very, very highly recommended, involving ownership claims to a successful movie series; and my former colleague Gary Forrester has just published Houseboating on the Ozarks. Jed Rubinfeld of Yale is said to have a mystery appearing next month.
I'd be grateful to any readers who can lengthen my list of lawyers and economists who have written novels, poems, plays, libretti, or other works of art or painted or danced or composed.
July 28, 2006 | Permalink
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