Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Barry Sullivan (Loyola-Chicago), A Book that Shaped Your World: Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 50 Alberta L. Rev. 934 (2013):
To celebrate the Alberta Law Review's fiftieth volume, the book review editors invited friends and alumni to put aside for a moment their required reading, and reflect briefly on the books that have shaped their approaches to life and the law. Professor Sullivan chose to reflect upon the perennially popular A Christmas Carol, to thoughtful and poetic effect.
The Victorians still have much to say to us. After all, apart from Shakespeare and the Greeks, who has written so insightfully as Trollope about the moral complexity and ambiguities of political life, with its competing claims of conscience and compromise, altruism and self-interest, idealism and corruption? But Dickens also merits our patronage. Dickens is the great moralist. His brief sounds in equity; his interest is fairness. Sentimental and didactic, he does not speak to our intellects in the way that Trollope does. Dickens shamelessly plays on our emotions. He speaks to our hearts. He manipulates us. He points us to the deepest truths about what it means to be human. And nowhere does he do that more effectively or with greater economy than in A Christmas Carol. ... The "power" that Scrooge attributes to Fezziwig is one that belongs to all of us. It is the power to act for good, and lawyers have that power in abundance.