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Does the letter of the law always arrive at its destination? "A Study in Feminine Psychology"

Aristodemou, Maria (2010) Does the letter of the law always arrive at its destination? "A Study in Feminine Psychology". Law and Literature 22 (3), pp. 394-417. ISSN 1535-685X.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/lal.2010.22.3.394

Abstract

This paper uses Balzac's short story "A Study in Feminine Psychology" as a springboard from which to explore what position the letter of the law occupies in a subject's psychic space. Through this tale of a misaddressed declaration of love, the paper examines how the law and the signifier arrest the subject, and what freedom, if any, the subject has to maneuvre around this position. Are subjects condemned, as Balzac seems to suggest in this tragicomic tale, never to fully find, let alone assume, their own satisfying place "before the law"? Or that they can never do so without some embarrassment and/or pain? If the letter of the law always arrives at its destination, if the subject is always arrested by the signifier, what hope is there for protest or critique? In conclusion, the paper considers whether subjects on the feminine side of the formula of sexuation have greater capacity to transcend and transgress the letter of the law than subjects on the masculine side.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Law
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 14 Feb 2011 15:08
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:20
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3055

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