New PDF release: Dark Mirror: The Sense of Injustice in Modern European and

By Richard C. Sterne

Concentrating on ecu and American trial fiction because approximately 1880, darkish reflect argues that even though it is mostly lively by way of a feeling of injustice, this literature displays the digital cave in in Western tradition of the belief of a common, or natural,ethical legislation. From the traditional Greeks to the Victorians, that concept, even though powerfully contested through the idea that justice used to be easily the curiosity of the stronger,remained vigorously alive in books as in people's minds. It hence constituted an alternative choice to injustice which smooth literature, no matter if its attitude is spiritual, social, or absurdist, infrequently offers. Sterne offers the argument that the culture of usual legislation should be tailored to the current situation, a speculation that necessitates a view of a global neighborhood within which distributive in addition to punitive justice is finished. Creators of literature, who've so persuasively dramatized the corruptions, cruelties, and absurdities of our time, could then eb known as upon to more and more decide to think justways for us to emerge from chaos. darkish replicate is the 1st examine that mixes, comprehensively, the therapy of the old clash among idealistic (natural legislation) and realisticor cynical ways to the belief of justice.

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Extra resources for Dark Mirror: The Sense of Injustice in Modern European and American Literature

Sample text

I must also acknowledge my debt to the anonymous reviewer for Fordham University Press whose helpful observations on the natural law tradition affected my shaping of the final chapter. Two books on literature and the law, though not cited in the text, had an impact on my thinking as I revised the manuscript in recent years: Richard Weisberg's The Failure of the Word: The Protagonist as Lawyer in Modern Fiction (1984) and Brook Thomas's Cross-Examinations of Law and Literature: Cooper, Hawthorne, Stowe, and Melville (1987).

But the substitution by Martin du Gard of belief in Page xix the progressive revelations of "science" for belief in natural law results in murky thinking about justice. Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle combines with its pungent satire on courtroom and social injustice a revolutionary prescription for change. A Prologue to the play, set in Stalin's Soviet Union just after World War II, dramatizes the equitable settling of a land dispute between two collective farms. The standard of justice is the utilitarian one of the "greatest good" for the larger community of which both collectives are a part.

Darkness at Noon articulates both a sense of injustice with respect to Stalin's society and judicial system, and the idea that only a revolution guided by ethical natural law can attain humane ends. Koestler grants human beings an autonomy that Dreiser's Darwinism in An American Tragedy denies them, and his ethical viewpoint is more lucid than either Martin du Gard's moral evolutionism in Jean Barois or Brecht's Marxism in The Caucasian Chalk Circle. The agony of the absurdist writers I discuss in Chapter 4 results Page xx from their inability to conceive of an alternative to the injustices they depict.

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