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Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Submission Title

A Meditation on "Bartleby"

Authors

Bryan Schwartz

Document Type

Article

Abstract

In this article, Herman Melville's short story, "Bartleby", is a springboard to discussing different aspects of interpretation in literature and law. "Semantic pluralism" in literature may mean that a work is well-crafted; in law, a multitude of possible meanings may allow a decision-maker to impose political choices undemocratically. The author illustrates this thesis by offering different interpretations of "Bartleby" and by contrasting these to the process of "legal" interpretation. The author concludes by relating the interpretations of "Bartleby" with the nature of lawyers' work.

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