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Literature has had a long relationship with medicine through literary images of disease, literary images of physicians and other healers, works of literature by physician-writers, and the use of literature as a method of active or passive healing. Literature also has had a long relationship with the law through literary images of various legal processes, lawyers, and judges, works for literature by lawyer-writers, and the use of literature as therapy. At last count, eighty-four law schools in the United States and Canada reported offering some variations of a “law and literature” course and recent scholarship demonstrates that literature increasingly is being used to illuminate specific, and notoriously difficult, areas of the law such as tax law.

Although more than a dozen U.S. law schools have established health law institutes, programs, centers, departments, or certifications, each of which offers a variety of health law courses ranging from “Alternative Medicine and the Law” to “Toxic Tort Litigation,” literature has yet to be routinely incorporated into these health law curricula. How can the field of law and literature inform the study of health law? And how can the field of literature and medicine help the field of law and literature in this regard?

Publication Citation

9 J. Med. & L. 213 (2005)