Daniel Berrigan's The Trial of the Catonsville Nine is based upon the transcript of a 1968 trial, during which Berrigan himself–Jesuit priest, prolific poet, and peace activist– and eight other members of the Catholic clergy and laity were indicted after incinerating over three hundred Vietnam draft files in protest against the war. A documentary verse drama, noteworthy for its complex, allusive structure, the play is traversed by a network of quotations from texts including Jean-Paul Sartre's The Condemned of Altona, Bertolt Brecht's The Life of Galileo, Heinar Kipphardt's In the Manner of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Peter Weiss's The Investigation, Jean Anouilh's Becket, and Sophocles' Antigone. Berrigan's play thus engages with, and positions itself within, a rich tradition of legal or jurisprudential drama, a trans-historical mode of dramatic expression structured around juridical performance, jurisdictional conflict, and jurisprudential enquiry. Reading these interpolated passages alongside the versified trial transcript and Berrigan's own library, this article interrogates the function and significance of this intertextual network, both as an act of genre formation and as an alternative jurisdiction for the readjudication of the Catonsville proceedings.


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pp. 262-288
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