Death Sentences
Literature and State Killing

Edited by Birte Christ and Ève Morisi

Studies In Comparative Literature 49

Legenda

23 April 2019  •  258pp

ISBN: 978-1-781885-57-4 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-781885-58-1 (paperback, 2020)  •  RRP £9.99, $12.50, €12.50

ISBN: 978-1-781885-59-8 (JSTOR ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR

Fiction


As Albert Camus once remarked: 'Of capital punishment, people write only [...] in a low voice.’ Journalists and state officials alike use a carefully policed language when making any reference to the death penalty: when human beings are to be executed by the state, some key actors talk about what will be done in terms of legalities and procedures. Does fiction provide a counterbalance for that discretion, or simply echo it? What other perspectives can it bring into the foreground, and can literary language express a response to a supposedly necessary horror, or a terrible injustice, which other voices or media cannot?

Considering a range of major works from across Western Europe and the United States, from the 18th century until the present day, Death Sentences investigates the contribution of poetics to our understanding, past and present, of capital punishment. The sophisticated literary representations found in Hugo, Dostoevsky, Wilde, Kafka, Mailer, King and others offer a privileged vantage point from which to illuminate and critique a unique institution which itself relies heavily on spectacle and representation to be operative and legitimized.

Birte Christ is Assistant Professor of American Literature and Culture at Justus-Liebig-University Giessen. Ève Morisi is Associate Professor of French and Fellow of St Hugh’s College at the University of Oxford.

Contents:

i-vi
Death Sentences: Death Sentences
Birte Christ, Ève Morisi
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vii-viii
Table of Contents
Birte Christ, Ève Morisi
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ix-x
Acknowledgements
Birte Christ, Ève Morisi
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1-10
Introduction: Capital Literature
Ève Morisi
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13-34
Chapter 1 Fedor Dostoevsky’s Death Sentences: Strategies of Indirection
William Mills Todd III
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35-54
Chapter 2 Matters of Grave Importance: Style in Norman Mailer’s the Executioner’s Song
Brian Jarvis
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57-77
Chapter 3 ‘Le Peuple Veut Du Sang’: the Guillotine and the General Will in Revolutionary Pamphlet Theatre
Jessica Goodman
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78-99
Chapter 4 Listening For A Man Swinging: A Prisoner Witnesses in Oscar Wilde’s ‘the Ballad of Reading Gaol’
E. S. Burt
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100-120
Chapter 5 Merging Sovereignty and Meaning in Capital Punishment: Franz Kafka’s Der Proceß and Bertolt Brecht’s Die Maßnahme
David Pan
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123-141
Chapter 6 Dreadful Forms: the Romantic Ballad and the Death Penalty
Mark Canuel
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142-162
Chapter 7 A Song Before Execution: José De Espronceda’s ‘El Reo De Muerte’
Michael Iarocci
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165-187
Chapter 8 Putting Pain To Paper: Victor Hugo’s New Abolitionist Poetics
Ève Morisi
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188-207
Chapter 9 Novel Arguments Against Capital Punishment: Plotting Death Sentences in E. D. E. N. Southworth’s the Gipsy’s Prophecy and the Lost Heiress
John Cyril Barton
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208-226
Chapter 10 Stephen King’s Poetic Justice: Seriality, Narrative Framing, and Intertextuality in the Green Mile
Birte Christ
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227-241
Bibliography
Birte Christ, Ève Morisi
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242-248
Index
Birte Christ, Ève Morisi
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Bibliography entry:

Christ, Birte, and Ève Morisi (eds), Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing, Studies In Comparative Literature, 49 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2019)

First footnote reference: 35 Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing, ed. by Birte Christ and Ève Morisi, Studies In Comparative Literature, 49 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2019), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Christ and Morisi, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Christ, Birte, and Ève Morisi (eds). 2019. Death Sentences: Literature and State Killing, Studies In Comparative Literature, 49 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Christ and Morisi 2019: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Christ and Morisi 2019: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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