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  • Author: François Ost x
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Abstract

“Representation crisis” is certainly an expression that is too imprecise, clichéd and all-embracing: of little use. However, we have to recognize that the theatrical and literary experiments that shook the classical notion of representation in the twentieth century have been fruitful, not only in the arts, but also in terms of their repercussions in the human sciences. Law is no exception to this. On the contrary, its eminently representative nature benefits from being examined in the mirror of the critical experiments provided by fiction. This is, in a very condensed form, the initial postulate that will underpin our hypothesis, which will consist in showing the usefulness of investigating the notion of representation in law through art and literary theory, as well as through examples drawn from concrete theatrical and fictional works, owing to the light theatre and fiction can shed on the fragile balance, the “representational” razor, on which the law rests.

Abstract

The doctrine of the two bodies, arising from the political theology of the Middle Ages, plays an essential role through the western political philosophy. The theme runs through many of Shakespeare’s plays. But Shakespeare rarely uses the doctrine in order to legitimise power. What interests him is the theme of the weak king (where there is tension between the two bodies) and the fact that a king cannot with impunity manipulate the symbolic power which underlies this doctrine.

Abstract

How do voice and power connect, in law? More precisely: given that in many cases one of the parties to a dispute does not share the language or the code of the court, and that the verdict will therefore do violence to him (this is the meaning of “differend,” as distinct from an ordinary legal dispute), how do the voices of the victims speak? The aim of this paper is to develop, with the aid of numerous literary examples, a typology of the various modulations of these voices, all the way from silence up to a shout, taking in along the way such things as: delirious ramblings, the oratorio, the petition, and literary sublimation. What are the limits of the “literary corpus” which we have in mind here? What about all the documents produced by the victims in cases of differend? Can we not regard them as a form of “outsider art,” of “judicial style”?