In this Book

Human Rights, Inc.
In this timely study of the historical, ideological, and formal interdependencies of the novel and human rights, Joseph Slaughter demonstrates that the twentieth-century rise of world literatureand international human rights law are related phenomena. Slaughter argues that international law shares with the modern novel a particular conception of the human individual. The Bildungsroman, the novel of coming of age, fills out this image, offering a conceptual vocabulary, a humanist social vision, and a narrative grammar for what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and early literary theorists both call the free and full development of the human personality.Revising our received understanding of the relationship between law and literature, Slaughter suggests that this narrative form has acted as a cultural surrogate for the weak executive authority of international law, naturalizing the assumptions and conditions that make human rights appear commonsensical. As a kind of novelistic correlative to human rights law, the Bildungsroman has thus been doing some of the sociocultural work of enforcement that the law cannot do for itself. This analysis of the cultural work of law and of the social work of literature challenges traditional Eurocentric histories of both international law and the dissemination of the novel. Taking his point of departure in Goethe's Wilhelm Meister, Slaughter focuses on recent postcolonial versions of the coming-of-age story to show how the promise of human rights becomes legible in narrative and how the novel and the law are complicit in contemporary projects of globalization: in colonialism, neoimperalism, humanitarianism, and the spread of multinational consumer capitalism.Slaughter raises important practical and ethical questions that we must confront in advocating for human rights and reading world literature-imperatives that, today more than ever, are intertwined.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-xi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Preamble: The Legibility of Human Rights
  2. pp. 1-44
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 1: Novel Subjects and Enabling Fictions: The Formal Articulation of International Human Rights Law
  2. pp. 45-85
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 2: Becoming Plots: Human Rights, the Bildungsroman, and the Novelization of Citizenship
  2. pp. 86-139
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 3: Normalizing Narrative Forms of Human Rights: The (Dys)Function of the Public Sphere
  2. pp. 140-204
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 4: Compulsory Development: Narrative Self-Sponsorship and the Right to Self-Determination
  2. pp. 205-269
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Chapter 5: Clefs a` Roman: Reading, Writing, and International Humanitarianism
  2. pp. 270-316
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Codicil: Intimations of a Human Rights International: β€˜β€˜The Rights of Man; or, What Are We [Reading] For?’’
  2. pp. 317-328
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 329-388
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 389-418
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 419-436
  3. restricted access Download |
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.