May 27, 2014
Tuesday, 12:00 pm
306 Royce Hall
Andreas Kilcher, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich
Before the Law: Literature and Law According to Kafka
In Kafka's writing, law is an omnipresent, yet uncanny, topic. The writer challenges general expectations associated with the nature of law: his literary accounts call into question the modern legal system as well as its moral and political fundaments. Against these aspects Kafka reinstalls fundamental pre-civilizatory and archaic forces of being, such as power and Eros. The present lecture posits that Kafka's literature – closer to the Greek drama than to the modern novel - challenges the moral and social institution of law with the mythical forces of life.
About the Speaker: Andreas Kilcher is professor of Literature and Cultural Studies at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich and director of the Center for the History of Knowledge. Kilcher is a prominent scholar of German-Jewish literature and culture, Kabbalah, esotericism and the literary studies of knowledge. He has written and edited a wide range of publications in these fields, among them several texts on Kafka. Forthcoming is an essay on the poetics and politics of Heinrich Heine's wit.
Sponsored by the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies
Cosponsored by the UCLA Department of Germanic Languages
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