Shakespearean Thoughts as Statutes. Law and Literature in Karl Kraus

Irene Fantappie

Abstract


It is not possible to understand Karl Kraus, claims Walter Benjamin, without assuming that in the oeuvre of the Viennese writer "everything takes place in the sphere of law". In Kraus’s thought legal issues are strongly related to literature and language. His concept of law stems from a higher ideal of ‘justice’; justice is based on language and language has a strong ideal and prescriptive value. Through the use of quotation Kraus charges literature and journalism with betraying language, while on the other hand he charges law with betraying justice.

This essay aims at demonstrating trough an interdisciplinary approach that Kraus did not only involve law issues in his literary writings, he also invested some literary works – especially Shakespeare’s plays – with a legal value. In Kraus’s thought Shakespeare is a symbol of consubstantiality between reality and literature, and an 'encyclopedia' providing eternally valid categories. As an ideal paradigm for the interpretation of reality, Shakespeare is the utopian background of Kraus’s reflection on language and justice, bearing witness to the indissolubility, in Kraus’s thought, of literature and law.   


Keywords


Kraus; Shakespeare; law; literature; quotation

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13125/2039-6597/437

NBN: http://nbn.depositolegale.it/urn%3Anbn%3Ait%3Aunica-17507

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