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Title: „Jer moj otac je bio pravnik, jesam li to već rekao“ R. Konstantinović, Dekartova smrt
Authors: Mitrović, Marija
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Marija Mitrović, "„Jer moj otac je bio pravnik, jesam li to već rekao“ R. Konstantinović, Dekartova smrt", in: Slavica Tergestina, 13 (2011), pp. 142-164
Series/Report no.: Slavica Tergestina
13 (2011)
Radomir Konstantinović’s Descartes’ Death has the characteristics of a
novel, an autobiographical essay and a philosophical treatise. The protagonist
of the novel, Father, professor of Civil Law, lives a life paved
by the rules founded on Descartes’ rationality: for him, to serve the
Law means to serve Order, perfect legality, repetition. Son admires his
Father, but at the same time fears his infallibility and suffers from his
tyranny of law, order and habit. In the Son’s eyes, Father is simultaneously
almighty law and fear of law, as well as the law that terrorizes
everyone around him. Everything changed in the 1990s when chaos
ruled the outside world, Serbia and Belgrade: Son endeavoured to establish
with this man of form and order such intimate relationships
that he could not have achieved during Father’s life, because the Father
was Law itself and the Son always and only an imperfect(ed) Disciple.
The image related to Father–Lawyer or rather to Law as the art of equilibrium,
is the image of a bicycle with the front wheel turned to the
left which frequently reappears in the novel.
Both in this novel–treatise and in his earlier works, Konstantinović
expressed familiarity with postmodern thinking and the philosophical
concepts of Montaigne and Pascal; one of the founders of scepticism,
Montaigne, witnessed the crisis of values and heralded the impossibility
of reaching the truth and the absolutes, while Pascal was doubtful
of the proof of bare evidence, placing belief in irrational sensations
above the rational conviction. However, in the 1990s one had to find a
space also for Descartes, the author of the treatise on method, reason
and the value of law. The Son now knows that Pascal’s world belongs to
what is direct, to the market, „since directness kills: naivety has bloodyhands“. He understands that Father’s world of rules is closer to him,
that the world of dignity, rhetoric, equilibrium and law is closer than
the law of directness and the world that lacks legal organization. In
the overwhelming darkness the Son first repudiated Montaigne, then
Pascal. Descartes remained. Father’s Descartes.
When in 1989 Jacques Derrida thought for the first time of a parallel
between literature, philosophy and law, he emphasized the precision
of the English language in the definitions of the functioning of law: „to
enforce the law“ reminds us that justice cannot be properly of the law
or right in law if it does not possess force or refer to force from the start.
At the beginning of justice there was logos, word or language, but this
does not contradict another of Derrida’s statements: in the beginning
there was force. And there, when discussing law and force, law as the
force, Derrida brings from oblivion the philosophers most prominent
in Konstantinović’s work: Descartes, Pascal and Montaigne. Not only
with the first, but with the other two as well, Derrida finds the term:
the mystical basis of authority, which refers to the authority produced
by law and is the result of law. „Laws are not rightful in themselves,
we do not respect them because they are rightful but because they
possess authority.“
We are faced with two beginner’s works: for the first time Derrida
enters in deliberations about the relations between law, literature,
philosophy and deconstructivism, while Konstantinović writes a novel–
treatise, new in terms of structure and content (and still unperceived),
where he explicates the ideas which Derrida deals with more densely
and in a philosophical framework in his American Lectures. Derrida
propagated the concepts which Konstantinović’s Son–narrator would
present in his imaginary discussions with his Father and in his quotations
from the thinkers quoted by Derrida. As if the author, Radomir Konstantinović, himself inclined to associative references and quotations
applied as verifications of the narrative, believed that the crucial
fact in his novel is that the main protagonist is a lawyer, the one who
writes the law, defines legislations and deals with legal justice.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1592-0291
Appears in Collections:Slavica Tergestina 13 (2011)

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