The Man in the Glass Booth: Hannah Arendt's Irony

Lyndsey Stonebridge

in The Judicial Imagination

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748642359
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652150 | DOI:
The Man in the Glass Booth: Hannah Arendt's Irony

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The Specialist is inspired by Hannah Arendt's famous account of the trial Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. The Adolf Eichmann trial demonstrated how the experience of traumatic memory could become a legal event in its own right. Arendt is dismayed about the way that language seems to run away from historical meaning in the Eichmann trial, and clearly does not think the testimony of the righteous is somehow foolish. She is also hardly unconscious of her own stylistic prejudices and knows that she has an important precedent in the much-chequered history of ironic thought. If Arendt judges for all in her final testimony to the Eichmann trial, it is not because she fears madness or the incomprehensibility of trauma and wants to escape back into the law, but because she thinks the crime itself is an attack on all.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; Adolf Eichmann; trauma; law; irony

Chapter.  11971 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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