"Give him your word": legal and literary interpretation in Stevie Smith's "The Story of a Story"

Randall, B. (2009) "Give him your word": legal and literary interpretation in Stevie Smith's "The Story of a Story". Law and Literature, 21(2), pp. 234-256. (doi:10.1525/lal.2009.21.2.234)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/lal.2009.21.2.234


The British writer Stevie Smith's short story entitled "The Story of a Story" has a rupture at its heart where the law (or that which represents it) tries to define what a particular utterance means, and thereby comes into conflict with nonlegal discourses. In this article I argue that Smith's story dramatizes the relationship between legal and literary interpretative paradigms at a time (during and just after World War II) when the higher courts of England and Wales were asked to adjudicate on some particularly controversial questions of legal interpretation, in particular for my purposes in the case of Liversidge v. Anderson. Implicitly, I conclude that the protagonist of Smith's story and Lord Atkin in his dissenting judgment in Liversidge share a resistance to the concentration of powers in one particular arena.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Randall, Dr Bryony
Authors: Randall, B.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PR English literature
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Law and Literature
Journal Abbr.:Law lit.
Publisher:University of California Press
ISSN (Online):1541-2601

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record