Employment Contracts and Marriage Settlements in Thomas Mann's The Tales of Jacob

Elisabetta Abignente

Abstract


 

Together with the representation of the justice court, the pact scene is one of the narrative elements that are more interesting for ‘Law in Literature’ studies. The pact, in his double meaning of ‘horizontal’ agreement between two people and ‘vertical’ alliance between a man and a supreme divine or diabolical being, is particularly present in the narrative work of Thomas Mann. The tale of the seven years biblical waiting of Jacob and Rachel that is told in the first volume of Joseph tetralogy, Die Geschichten Jaakobs, gives one of the most significant examples in this sense. This is the series of three contracts signed by Jacob and Laban, Rachel’s father, which are anomalous because they are employment contracts and marriage settlements at the same time. By a careful rereading of this scene, the paper aims to investigate which is the main narrative function of the scene of the pact in the fictional context. Totally absent from the biblical source, the scene of the contract becomes the instrument, inside the novel, of that process of ‘dilatation’ and ‘humanization’ of the myth on which Mann’s monumental rewriting is found.

Keywords


Thomas Mann; Die Geschichten Jaakobs; Contract; Pact; Biblical Rewriting; Law and Narrative

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/365

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17555

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