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The Work of Giorgio AgambenLaw, Literature, Life$
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Justin Clemens and Nicholas Heron

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748634620

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634620.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

K

K

Chapter:
(p.13) Chapter 1 K
Source:
The Work of Giorgio Agamben
Author(s):

Giorgio Agamben

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748634620.003.0002

This chapter is an intervention into the interpretation of Franz Kafka's great novels The Trial and The Castle; implicitly, it constitutes a divided assault on the divisiveness of the law. In Roman law, slander (calumnia, in old Latin kalumnia) represented so serious a threat for the administration of justice that the false accuser was punished by the branding of the letter K (the initial of kalumniator) on his forehead. The gravity of slander is a function of its calling into question the principle itself of the trial: the moment of accusation. K.'s strategy can be defined with more precision as the failed attempt to render impossible, not the trial, but the confession. The profession of the protagonist of The Castle is addressed. The interpretation according to which K. wants to be accepted by the castle and settle in the village would then appear all the more mistaken.

Keywords:   Franz Kafka, The Trial, The Castle, kalumniator, slander, accusation, confession

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