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  • 1.
    Hauksson-Tresch, Nathalie
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, French.
    Visual Rhetoric of the Truth in the Dreyfus Affair: A Semiotic Approach2019In: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, ISSN 0952-8059, E-ISSN 1572-8722, p. 1-17Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    At the turn of the twentieth century, French society was shaken by a scandal that affected it at many levels to varying degrees and that is still considered as a symbol of injustice, miscarriage of justice and antisemitism. The Dreyfus Affair started in 1894 when an artillery officer of Jewish descent was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for communicating military secrets to the German embassy in Paris. Only years later was Alfred Dreyfus exonerated and rehabilitated, due mainly to the role of the media and the famous article by the novelist Emile Zola, “J’accuse”. The press, in general, played a fundamental role in the narration of the event and in the complex chemistry that led a confidential case of espionage to become a broad public debate, exemplifying the constant struggle against prejudice and irrational impulses that implies democracy. From the impressive volume of publications, I selected two drawings issued when the truth about captain Dreyfus’s innocence began emerging. One is by Félix Vallotton, “That’s why she was not coming out!”, the other by Gustave-Henri Jossot, “She was too naked”, and they both give an interpretation of the truth and of the reasons why it—the truth—came out so late. The semiotic approach of the drawings and of Zola’s pamphlet in terms of visual message leads us to distinguish three aspects. The first is iconic and consists of establishing the links between a signifier, a signified and a referent in order to recognize the immediate message but also the connoted signification; the second is linguistic and consists of the captions; and the third is plastic, focusing on size, colors and shapes. These analyzes of the mode in which visual artefacts produce meaning and provoke an interpretative process are made in terms of rhetoric insofar as rhetoric is considered, not only in terms of figures of speech, but as a method of persuasion and argumentation.

  • 2.
    Hu, Lung-Lung
    Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, Chinese.
    Truth Does Not Matter: Legal Storytelling in the Japanese Drama “Legal High 2”2018In: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, ISSN 0952-8059, E-ISSN 1572-8722, p. 1-18Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    People expect that the truth can be revealed in a trial and the decision then is made based on the truth. However, such expectation is a fantasy because the truth has disappeared since the moment when an incident occurred. What are left about this incident are merely fragments (witnesses and evidences) that need further interpretations. Interpretations are open to possibilities; possibilities mean different stories. That is to say: there is no truth (or there are many truths) but stories; truth actually does not matter in law. Law is asked to re-construct the truth logically, based on facts, and without being affected by what outside the law, and then a fair and just legal decision can be made. The idea of storytelling, from the perspective of literature—literary narrative, on the other end is opposite to legal narrative that: a story does not need to be true or real; a story can be as bizarre as it can get as long as it is explainable and acceptable when the story comes to law. In a Japanese drama “Legal High 2” a black widow spider woman is accused of murdering her fiancée and his daughter. Since this woman is the only suspect and has been involved in many marriage fraudulent cases, the prosecutor proves that she is the murder based on the motivation and evidences found (the poison she bought from internet) in the crime scene. However, the defense attorney for getting this woman acquitted tells a story absolutely different from the prosecutor’s based on the same evidences. Therefore, in this present paper I am going to discuss that: how literary narrative and legal narrative in a law drama create both legit but opposite stories that challenges the idea that law and its language is a tool used to pursue the truth based on logics and facts. And, I will compare the similarity and the difference between literary narrative and legal narrative, from the both sides of legal theory and literary theory about language, to examine the idea of “truth” in law and in literature about law.

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