Negli ultimi decenni del Novecento sono stati i giuristi delle grandi School of Law statunitensi a insistere sull’importanza dei testi letterari per affinare le capacità interpretative degli operatori del diritto. Ma non basta capire come i temi giuridici vengano esplicitamente trattati dalla letteratura. Quanto diritto c’è piuttosto nella letteratura anche quando non lo sappiamo riconoscere a un primo sguardo? Quale valore aggiunto può rivelare la letteratura stessa, se interrogata nella prospettiva del diritto? Finora è mancato un approccio comparativo e polifonico che sappia far dialogare diverse epoche, diverse tradizioni giuridiche e diverse culture letterarie. In questo volume giuristi, storici e studiosi di letteratura (americana, araba francofona, inglese, tedesca) si interrogano su tre tematiche trasversali: il ruolo della letteratura nel definire o accompagnare differenti processi di Nation-building e State-building in Europa; casi eminenti di interazione fra medium letterario e dibattimento processuale; l’incontro dei diritti dell’Occidente con modi di intendere la giustizia in contesti assai lontani, dal Nordafrica egiziano e marocchino fino ai Caraibi e alla Cina.
Maria Carolina Foi insegna Letteratura tedesca all’Università di Trieste. Il suo campo di ricerca privilegiato sono le connotazioni giuridico-politiche della letteratura moderna di lingua tedesca. Ha pubblicato diversi contributi sull’Ottocento (Kleist, Grillparzer, Mörike) e sul Novecento (Bahr, Broch, Arendt), e curato le edizioni del Viaggio nello Harz di Heinrich Heine e del Don Carlos di Schiller (Marsilio). Del 2013 è La giurisdizione delle scene. I drammi politici di Schiller (Quodlibet); nel 2015 è apparsa la nuova edizione, aumentata e aggiornata, di Heine e la vecchia Germania. La questione tedesca fra poesia e diritto (EUT).
This essays analyses George Thomas Staunton’s translation of the Qing so-called
‘penal’ code (1810), on the background of the century-old European debate on
the laws and justice of China and in the light of the important changes in Sino-
Western relationships at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In so doing,
it tries to test Teemu Ruskola’s notion of “legal Orientalism”, by showing that
Western views of the Chinese law and judicial system, particularly in the culture
of the Enlightenment, were in fact more nuanced than this notion would imply.
The meaning and intention of Staunton’s translation are assessed as an explicit
attempt to counter current representations of Chinese penal justice as cruel and
inhuman and Chinese law as inadequate to protect the subjects’ interests, two
views on which many early-nineteenth century interpretations of China as a barbarous
and backward nation depended.
The colonies created by the French, in America and elsewhere, had from the late
17th Century to 1848 a principle that governed slavery, meaning the colonies’ fundamental
social, political and economic aspects. The Law, the so-called Code Noir,
laid down the principles to be followed – but how far was it followed in reality?
Literary testimonies coming from of the ‘black’ colonial side make clear that the
law was enforced in a one-way manner: the interests of the master settlers and
their nations were always protected most rigorously, while the meagre rights that
were granted in theory to slaves were largely, if not systematically, disregarded.
We will compare therefore what the law stipulates with what was passed down
by colonial and post-colonial literature.
Moroccan literature of the Years of Lead is a very interesting case of literature and
law relationship. Moroccan society is still anchored to the past; nevertheless, it is
crossed by radical political changes, in particular as far as the attention towards
human rights is concerned. While from a legal perspective Ali Mezghani has referred
to the Arab countries as an instance of “unfinished State”, from a literary
point of view a distinction should be drawn between the historical moment of
the Years of Lead in which young activists were imprisoned (Seventies) and the
cultural moment in which these years’ experience resurfaced (Nineties). Writers,
testimonies, interviews, films are all revolved around the same need to deal with
a past which has been forgotten too often and by too many. The analysis of some
of the most significant literary works of this period allows us to connect the writers’
fictions with their desire to build a future while positioning themselves in
relation with a society they perceive as detached from themselves. Writing, then,
becomes an elaboration of an endless mourning in which the acceptance of loss
does not always turn into a composition of the modern citizen.
This paper deals with some Arab literary texts of the 19th century which take into
consideration questions of an ethical, juridical and political order arising from a
comparison with such themes in the West, especially with regard to the concepts
of freedom, equality and justice. These themes are not extraneous to Islam but
they are rethought out and readapted by Ṭahṭāwī, Zakī and Kawākibī in the light
of the process of renewal that was taking place at the time in every aspect of life
in the Arab world – cultural, political and religious – during the decisive historical
phase of Nahda (Rebirth) in which the modern concept of watan (Fatherland)
was coming into being and in which the dictates of the law and jurisprudence
were coming under scrutiny. Although there are differences between them, the
works examined in this paper are all perfectly in line with the idea of law proper
to classical Islam in which a plurality of interpretations was considered a positive
factor. This tendency acquires a special value when compared with the prevalent
interpretative orientation that šarī‘a, has assumed today. By now it has become a
rigid, crystallized corpus that has taken on the function of legitimizing political
regimes that claim their own independence of opinion but completely distort
the spirit and significance of Islam.