Friday, February 19, 2016

Law and Literature: The Cox Collection

Today, acclaimed novelist Harper Lee passed away at the age of 89. Lee was best known for her 1960 debut novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, a classic tale of criminal justice and race relations in a small Southern town. (A long-lost early draft of Mockingbird was released in 2015 under the title Go Set a Watchman, amid controversy about Lee's mental state and intentions not to publish the draft.) While Harper Lee's literary output may not have been prolific, To Kill a Mockingbird had a huge cultural impact which endures to this day. It remains one of the most widely-taught novels in American classrooms, and was also adapted into an Academy Award-winning 1962 film starring Gregory Peck as attorney Atticus Finch, who defends a black man accused of rape in Depression-era Alabama.

Want to read, or re-read, Harper Lee's works? Although you may need to place a hold request for these popular books, both Mockingbird and Watchman are available in the Duke University Libraries collection, with Mockingbird part of the Goodson Law Library's Cox Legal Fiction Collection on level 3 near the windows. The Cox Collection was established in 1987 by Duke Law professor James D. Cox, with a donation of funds received as the recipient of the Duke Bar Association Distinguished Teaching Award for the library to purchase novels and other fiction involving lawyers or legal themes. Over the years, with continued generous support from Prof. Cox, the collection has grown to include DVDs of film and television programs with lawyers or legal themes (such as the 1962 film adaptation of Mockingbird on DVD), as well as scholarly non-fiction works discussing law and literature.

While you wait for your Harper Lee holds to arrive, you can also browse the newest Cox Collection titles in the Duke Libraries Catalog by using the filters for Law Library > Cox Collection. For assistance with locating legal fiction titles, be sure to Ask a Librarian.