Narrative, Violence, and the Law

The Essays of Robert Cover
Martha Minow, Michael Ryan, and Austin Sarat, Editors
Essential writings of the leading scholar of law and violence


The late Robert Cover was Professor of Law, Yale Law School. Martha Minow is Professor of Law, Harvard Law School. Michael Ryan is Professor of English, Northeastern University. Austin Sarat is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Chair of the Program in Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought, Amherst College.

Praise / Awards

  • "Bob Cover was and remains the dominant voice of his generation among legal scholars. These essays, each one magnificent in itself, are, when taken together, even more important. The wisdom they impart is forever."
    —Guideo Calabresi, Dean and Sterling Professor of Law, Yale University
  • "Robert Cover drew his sources for the authority of law—for its violence, but also for its paideic potential—from the structuring stories that spark our communal imaginations. Literally until the day of his untimely death, which still is a shock to the system he left behind, his irreplaceably restless spirit was binding itself with the pages of the Midrash, of The Brothers Karamazov, of Billy Budd, Sailor. It is for us now to work also with these—Bob Cover's stories."
    —Richard Weisberg, Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University
  • "The writings of Robert Cover were usually provocative, sometimes exasperating, but always relevant. He regularly insisted that legal scholarship be integrated with the great issues of spirituality. In his last years, he concentrated on Jewish sources as well as mystical and Messianic thought. This collection of his articles is a thesaurus of some of his finest writings."
    —Robert F. Drinan, S.J., Georgetown University Law Center

Look Inside


Introduction: Robert Cover and Law, Judging, and Violence (Martha Minow)-1

1. The Origins of Judicial Activism in the Protection of Minorities-  13
2. The Uses of Jurisdictional Redundancy: Interest, Ideology, and Innovation - 51
3. Nomos and Narrative - 95
4. The Folktales of Justice: Tales of Jurisdiction - 173
5. Violence and the Word - 203
6. Obligation: A Jewish Jurisprudence of thew Social Order - 239

Coda: Your Law-Baseball Quiz - 249
Afterwards: Robert Cover on Law and Violence (Austin Sarat) - 255
Afterwards: Meaning and Alternity (Michael Ryan) - 267
Subject Index - 277
Index of Statutes and Cases - 289

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 312pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1995
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06495-3

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  • $38.95 U.S.