Robin West, ‘The New Legal Criticism’

Introduction:
Professors Hanoch Dagan and Avihay Dorfman’s article Just Relationships is a fundamental reinterpretation of the moral ideals of large swaths of private law. Its significance, however, may go beyond even that broad ambition. In this Response, I suggest that Just Relationships is also an exemplar – perhaps par excellence – of an emergent form of critical discourse, which may itself foreshadow a paradigm shift in contemporary critical legal scholarship. That new form of scholarship might usefully be dubbed ‘the new legal criticism’. The label serves partly as an echo of the ‘New Criticism’ movement that emerged in literary criticism in the middle of the twentieth-century, which, in methodological ways, the new legal criticism very much resembles. But primarily, the label ‘new legal criticism’ suggests that this ascendant group of legal scholars articulates a different point of departure for critical thinking about law – particularly for critical thinking about private law – from that which most immediately preceded it in twentieth century legal thought: the critical legal studies movement …” (more)

Robin West, ‘The New Legal Criticism’, Columbia Law Review Online volume 117 (6 June 2017) pp 144–164.

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