The NYU German Department presents Kafka, Narrative, and the Law, a public talk by Professor Vivian Liska (University of Antwerp, Belgium).
References to the law pervade Kafka’s writings, but their meaning remains elusive. It is precisely because it is uncertain whether the law in Kafka’s work is to be understood in juridical, religious, literary, or ontological terms that it has elicited numerous and often contradictory interpretations. The lecture explores how this indeterminacy inspired concepts of justice in thinkers from Scholem and Benjamin to Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben. The lecture focuses on the relationship between law and narrative, and the interaction between Halacha and Aggadah, the legal and the narrative dimension of the Talmud.
Vivian Liska is Professor of German Literature and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. Her research focuses on modernist literature, German-Jewish literature and thought, and literary theory. Her most recent books are Kafka and the Universal (ed.), 2016, and German-Jewish Thought and its Afterlife. A Tenuous Legacy, 2017.