Tableau Before the Law: Albert Camus' The Fall After Deconstruction

Derrida Today 6 (1):115-134 (2013)

At the beginning of Derrida's ‘Before the Law’, a reading of Kafka's story with that title, is an epigraph from Montaigne's Essays: ‘… science does likewise (and even our law, it is said, has legitimate fictions on which it bases the truth of its justice)…’. Derrida again refers to this quotation in ‘Force of Law’, asking what a ‘legitimate fiction’ might be and what it would mean to establish the basis for the truth of justice. With reference to these writings on the status of narrative and the law, as well as to other texts by Derrida, this paper examines the story of the judge-penitent in Camus' The Fall and, in particular, this ironic reading of the aporetic experience of standing ‘before the law’. What does the narrative, The Fall, entail? Camus writes that the man who speaks in this text is involved in a ‘calculated confession’. How are the borders between truth and fiction, justice and the law, negotiated in this reckoning ‘before the law’?
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DOI 10.3366/drt.2013.0055
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