Mrs Donoghue and The Law's Strange Neighbour: New Narratives of Modernist Trauma

Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Publication Type:
Remaking Literary History, 2010, First, pp. 155 - 166
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There is a strange English case, one that is also a quintessentially modernist text, which all students of the common law are taught. In this case, Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562, the House of Lords reformulated the responsibility owed by one person to another in civil society, (despite its legal importance, it is irreverently known as "the-snailin- the-bottle case"). The case has had a hold on the imagination of lawyers ever since it was heard in 1932; but as to why this case matters so much to lawyers, and why it should also matter to modernists, I need to start by telling a story. Like all good stories, this one starts with a journey-Mrs May Donoghue's tram trip from her tenement in the heart of Glasgow to the Welhneadow Cafe in Paisley.
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