TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

How A Christmas Carol Shaped My World

Christmas CarolBarry 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.

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I don't read many novels, but when I do it's usually Dickens. The most recent was "Bleak House." Every student of Anglo-American legal history should be familiar with the Jarndyce case.

Posted by: Bob Kamman | Dec 24, 2013 9:07:09 AM

It is the power to act for good, and lawyers have that power in abundance.

So how come so much of the evil that is done in the world is done by lawyers, or normalized by them?

Posted by: Carl Pham | Dec 25, 2013 10:08:14 PM

It isn't normalized, just defended for a fee.
The problem is not lawyers, it is human frailty.
The cause of too many lawsuits is not all the tv ads but the greed in too many hearts.
Blame lawyers if you want, but they are a symptom, not the disease.

Posted by: William Jefferson | Dec 26, 2013 1:27:20 PM

I am still mourning your absence from UC. Thanks for the post and the on-going IRS scandal coverage. And thanks for the Trollope mention; have been meaning to read Trollope. Jaundice & Jaundice!! Bleak House was wonderful.

Posted by: Sam | Dec 27, 2013 5:34:55 PM