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Comment: Johns Hopkins University Press; 2002; 9.24 X 6.40 X 0.81 inches; Hardcover; Very Good in Very Good dust jacket; Text clean and solid; 216 Pages
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The Art of Alibi: English Law Courts and the Novel Hardcover – January 23, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (January 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080186755X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801867552
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,589,482 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Among those texts that attend both to historical environment and formal or generic pressures, Jonathan H. Grossman's The Art of Alibi stands out.

(Andrew H. Miller Studies in English Literature)

[An] absorbing study of the cultural influence of the law courts on the Victorian novel... Grossman's refusal to simply draw an analogy between trials and novels distinguishes his argument from others working in the crossover territory between legal studies and literary criticism.

(David McAllister Times Literary Supplement)

Grossman's innovative study is a provocative reconsideration of the early nineteenth-century novel and should stimulate further exploration of the generative intersection of law and literature.

(Gareth Cordery Dickens Quarterly)

Jonathan Grossman offers an important exploration of the relationships of physical, political, and narrative forms of the law in the early Victorian period. His powerful readings form an essential tool for understanding the way writers like Dickens and Gaskell used juridical forms to make important innovations in literary form. His use of visual material as well as court records to illuminate these readings is marvelous.

(Hilary M. Schor, University of Southern California)

The crossover territory between legal studies and literary criticism is a subject of central interest to scholarship. Grossman's study deals with this subject in a fresh and vigorous manner that presents a young critic who will make his mark.

(John Sutherland, University College London)

About the Author

Jonathan H. Grossman is an associate professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.

More About the Author

Jonathan Grossman was born in Oxford and grew up in Boston. He teaches at UCLA. His most recent book is about the public transport revolution in England.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This fascinating book looks at the relationship between the trial narratives of criminal defendants and their literary counterparts from the late eighteenth century through the mid nineteenth century. Grossman discusses a number of well-known British novelists including Gaskell, Dickens, and Godwin, along with some lesser-known writers. Unlike much 'law and literature' research, Grossman has thought carefully about both areas, and his readings are fascinating and nuanced. He also makes some interesting observations about the rise of the detective novel in 19th century England.
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