Law and Critique 26 (2):135-154 (2015)

Katrin Trüstedt
Yale University
This contribution investigates the intimate relation and the tension between legal and literary procedures of personification and subjectivation. In order to do so, the contribution turns to Kafka’s The Trial and examines the proximity of the juridical procedure depicted in the novel, intending to establish Josef K. as a subject, to the narrative procedures of the novel itself that aims at bringing forth an accountable protagonist. The intimate relation of the legal procedures described in the novel and the narrative ones of the novel itself is rooted in a shared historical heritage that impacts both. I argue that the fundamental configuration of advocacy in the classical rhetorical procedure: speaking for someone, against someone, in front of an other, lies at the basis of both legal and literary procedures. Against this common rhetorical background I investigate developments in legal procedures and the formation of the modern novel in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Both developments occlude the rhetorical mechanisms of speaking-for and speaking against and turn the rhetorical procedures of personification into mechanisms of subjectivation. Kafka’s Proceß reflects these developments, yet does not affirm this transformation and ultimately does not result in a guilty subject and a ‘believable’ character. Rather, the novel embodies a gesture of resistance against certain modes of subjectivation that seem to be prevalent both in modern law and in the novel of formation
Keywords Kafka  Law and Literature  Person  Subjectivity
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DOI 10.1007/s10978-015-9160-1
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References found in this work BETA

The Origin of German Tragic Drama.Walter Benjamin - 1978 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (1):103-104.
Homo sacer.Giorgio Agamben - 1998 - Problemi 1.
Vierte Person. Kafkas Erzählstimme.Joseph Vogl - 1994 - Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft Und Geistesgeschichte 68:745-756.
An Outline for a Critical History of Fürsprache: Synegoria and Advocacy.Rüdiger Campe - 2008 - Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft Und Geistesgeschichte 82 (3):355-381.

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Kafka: A Blueprint of Desire.Lara Pehar - 2017 - Dissertation, Toronto

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