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Fall 2023 Course

(Dis)illusionment for Young Lawyers

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

You’ve heard about young lawyers, doctors and other professionals who are “disillusioned.” In this class, we’ll explore the phenomenon “in advance.” We’ll do it from an oblique angle by reading and discussing several novels about individuals who live in/on illusions of various sorts and then are disillusioned, perhaps revealing the value of illusions of other sorts. It turns out to be an enduring theme.

The class will require you to read roughly 200 pages per week. (Do not join us if you cannot commit to doing that and taking active part in discussions, but keep in mind that well written novels don’t take as long to read as legal materials.) It will draw on the analytic abilities you are honing in law school. At the same time, it will engage you with classic fiction featuring deeply nuanced accounts of personality and behavior — and will call on powers of self-exploration (who am I, who do I want to be, where am I coming from, where am I going?) — that may be quite foreign to your education so far. The class is meant to be both an extension of and an antidote to HLS.

The books may include these: Eliot’s Middlemarch, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Vonnegut’s Mother Night, and Egan’s The Candy House.