Literature and Legal Discourse: Equity and Ethics from by Dieter Paul Polloczek

By Dieter Paul Polloczek

The intersection among legislation and literature is a constructing zone in literary reviews. contemporary paintings argues that literature presents an imaginary discussion board during which felony beliefs and practices will be verified. Dieter Polloczek's examine develops this concept to teach how the unconventional, with its expanding social scope and formal sophistication supplied a way of transmitting, wondering and refining society's traditions, values and modes of self-questioning. Polloczek's research is either theoretical and historic, extending from the eighteenth century to the modernist interval, and masking texts from Sterne, Dickens, Bentham and Conrad.

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All of which causes Yorick to overthrow his ‘‘systematic reasonings upon the Bastile’’ and ceremonially to invoke for some abstracted notion of human nature the blessings of liberty against the backdrop of the ‘‘bitter draught’’ of ‘‘slavery’’ for ‘‘thousands in all ages’’ (SJ, p. ). Haunted by his encounter with the captive bird, Yorick confesses, ‘‘I begun to figure to myself the miseries of confinement. I was in a right frame for it, and so I gave full scope to my imagination’’ (SJ, p. ). Picturing the millions born to slavery ‘‘distract[s]’’ Yorick, however ‘‘affecting’’ the idea of it might be; he needs something that he can bring ‘‘near’’ himself (SJ, p.

Bender’s and Van Sant’s readings of Sterne emphasize different notions of confinement. Yet both associate such confinement with trial and punishment of the self understood as an isolated character. Each emphasizes that confinement is of a duplicitous nature. But each defines such duplicity in different terms. For Bender, confinement belongs to what he understands as the (narrative) judicial self-consciousness of Legal and sentimental confinement in Sterne’s novels  eighteenth-century realist narrative: an identification preserving isolation, modular identity highlighted as the paradox of absorptive spectatorship.

Sympathetic forms of commerce, often figured as concrete objects like swords and snuff-boxes, begin to serve as a means of escaping national, class, and especially legal prohibitions on some universal and unfettered intercourse. Sterne’s notion of sympathy emerges in situations of war and traveling as a ‘‘para-legal’’ mode of equity. In such situations, Toby and Yorick must establish social bonds with strangers that are, as I will show, less emotionally binding than intimacy and more morally binding than contracts.

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