Adapting the modern law novel: filming John Grisham

Peter Robson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The essay looks at the process of adaptation of fiction to film. It seeks to build on earlier work which suggested that this process required to be examined in the political and social context within which the adaptation occurred. It focuses on the work of John Grisham and notes how the fiction of Grisham can be divided into thrillers and social issues novels. These in their turn have been turned into films in which, in the process of adaptation, their themes have become both sharper and more focused. They have also in this process become less critical of the social and political structures within which Grisham's fictional protagonists operate. The essay seeks to provide an explanation for this paradox which relates to the fore-mentioned notion of contextual adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-163
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002


  • fiction
  • film
  • law
  • political context
  • social context
  • adaptation
  • John Grisham
  • social issues
  • legal practice
  • media studies
  • law films


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