Publication details [#4091]

Dicke, Roxanne M. 1997. Gender, the body, and law in Sally Clark's "The Trial of Judith K." and "Jehanne of the Witches". Guelph, Ontario, Canada. 89 pp.


This thesis is an investigation of gender, the female body and judicial and ecclesiastical law in Sally Clark's The Trial of Judith K. and Jehanne of the Witches. Law functions as a discourse of "truth" that regulates female roles and behaviour by controlling the body and essentializing gender. The author explores Clark's feminist adaptation of Kafka's The Trial and how Clark employs theatrical absurdism in The Trial of Judith K. Law, as a synecdoche for patriarchy, locates Judith K.'s disorder in her body. In Jehanne of the Witches Clark draws on the historical figure of Joan of Arc. The author considers the role of the medieval Catholic Church in regulating the female body. Clark uses this context to examine current perceptions of the body and gender. Through feminist dramaturgical techniques, Clark destabilizes the power of judicial and ecclesiastical law. Most importantly, she destabilizes notions of essentialized gender by stressing its performative nature. (Roxanne Dicke)