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Title: Die Moskauer Prozesse der Jahre 1936 bis 1938 – Monströse Lehrstücke theatraler Entgrenzung
Authors: Kossmann, Stephan
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Stephan Kossmann, "Die Moskauer Prozesse der Jahre 1936 bis 1938 – Monströse Lehrstücke theatraler Entgrenzung", in: Slavica Tergestina, 13 (2011), pp. 116-141
Series/Report no.: Slavica Tergestina
13 (2011)
The relationship between law and literature, especially law and theatre,
is as far as their tradition is concerned no doubt just as old as our
western-style culture. The fact however that we are at all able to speak
about a relationship which intrinsically means distinguishing between
law and theatre, politics and aesthetics, and last but not least fact and
fiction in a profound way is the specific result of a process of systemic
differentiation. In this light the Moscow show trials from 1936 to 1938
contrarily prove to be a paradigm of how the differentiation between
law and theatre –
regarded as separated parts of society – and their
cultural and logical distinction dissolves in favour of a unification
that also can be considered as a total amalgamation. An amalgamation
characteristic of 1930s Soviet culture in so far as in all of their spheres
the boundaries between fact and fiction, theatre and political life, literature
and reality disappear. The amalgamation of law and theatre
in the Moscow trials can be displayed by focusing on their juridical
frameworks in terms of the paradoxical structures of political and
juridical ,decisionism‘ (an expression established in jurisprudence by
the German Carl Schmitt in the first decades of the 20th century) on
one hand and the methods of constructing reality in accordance with
the theory of Social Realism on the other including the experiments on
stage of the so called agitsudy in the 1920s. Against the background of
a double bound theatrically and juridically based non-differentiation
of law and theatre in Soviet culture, the Moscow show trials – directed
by Stalin and conducted by the general prosecutor Andrei Vyshinsky

work as a social-realistic machine to eliminate the self-constructedenemy in the fictitious and actual arranged space of a stage-court and
operate as monstrous plays of a theatrical transgression.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1592-0291
Appears in Collections:Slavica Tergestina 13 (2011)

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