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    Dangerous words and dead letters: encounters with law and 'the love that dares to speak its name'

    Moran, Leslie (2002) Dangerous words and dead letters: encounters with law and 'the love that dares to speak its name'. Liverpool Law Review: A Journal of Contemporary Legal and Social Policy 23 (2), pp. 1-13. ISSN 0144-932X.

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    Abstract

    This paper explores an encounter between literature, a poem by, James Kirkup, ‘The Love that Dares to Speak its Name’ and the law, the criminal offence of publishing a blasphemous libel. It reflects upon the problems of writing about a literature that is criminally prohibited. It examines how the ‘fact’ of the poem, which involves its description in the law reports, is possible in the face of the prohibition on the publication of the poem that has produced the banishment of the poem. It examines the representation of the poem available in the various appeal judgments, Rv. Lemon and R v. Gay News Ltd (the Court of Appeal) Whitehouse v. Lemon andWhitehouse v. Gay News Ltd (the House of Lords) and Gay News Ltd. and Lemon v.United Kingdom (the Commission of the European Convention on Human Rights). These cases point to the importance of textual practices of civility (sobriety, temperance, decency) in the production of the fact of the poem in the law reports. The paper explores how these textual practices of civility both undermine the law and literature as well as play a central role in its production. The paper points to the importance of ‘border’ and ‘boundary’ that connote the fixity and stability of the spatial distribution of law and crime, order and disorder, law and literature through the distinction between decent and indecent texts. It concludes by exploring the proximity and the interconnections between these opposites and the permeability of boundaries, of law and literature, reason and passion, judgment and feelings.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Law
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2019 08:05
    Last Modified: 16 Apr 2019 08:05
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/27215

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