Giorgio Agamben

in The Work of Giorgio Agamben

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780748634620
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652440 | DOI:

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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

Chapter.  6604 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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