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Cardozo Law Review

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Bartleby, the Scrivener, Billy Budd, Herman Melville, law and literature


The values of the American legal system, and the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, have at least one thing in common: both are unquestionably, if not shamelessly, body conscious. Nothing triggers legal exposure with greater certainty than an injury to the human body. The body is the locus of the law's remedial obsessions. Unless the body is bruised, some scar is left, an essential piece of anatomy is altered, or some damage takes place in a material, external sense to objects that have definable, tangible characteristics, the law is without moral force or conviction.

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