Criminal Law and the Modernist Novel: Experience on Trial

Criminal Law and the Modernist Novel: Experience on Trial

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Rex Ferguson
Cambridge University Press, 7/8/2013
EAN 9781107012974, ISBN10: 110701297X

Hardcover, 222 pages, 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
Language: English

The realist novel and the modern criminal trial both came to fruition in the nineteenth century. Each places a premium on the author's or trial lawyer's ability to reconstruct reality, reflecting modernity's preoccupation with firsthand experience as the basis of epistemological authority. But by the early twentieth century experience had, as Walter Benjamin put it, 'fallen in value'. The modernist novel and the criminal trial of the period began taking cues from a kind of nonexperience – one that nullifies identity, subverts repetition and supplants presence with absence. Rex Ferguson examines how such nonexperience colours the overlapping relationship between law and literary modernism. Chapters on E. M. Forster's A Passage to India, Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier and Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time detail the development of a uniquely modern subjectivity, offering new critical insight to scholars and students of twentieth-century literature, cultural studies, and the history of law and philosophy.

1. The trials of experience
from enlightened subjectivity to Woolfian moments of being
2. Mysteries and muddles in A Passage to India
3. The Good Soldier and the good reader
4. The repeated appeal of Proust and Dreyfus
experiencing the hyper-real