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Trials are difficult experiences which test the character of the person experiencing them.


  • TRIAL, n. A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors. In order to effect this purpose it is necessary to supply a contrast in the person of one who is called the defendant, the prisoner, or the accused. If the contrast is made sufficiently clear this person is made to undergo such an affliction as will give the virtuous gentlemen a comfortable sense of their immunity, added to that of their worth.
  • A trial and a literary text do not aim at the same kind of conclusion, nor do they strive toward the same kind of effect. A trial is presumed to be a search for truth, but, technically, is a search for a decision, and thus, in essence, it seeks not simply truth but in a finality: a force of resolution. A literary text is, on the other hand, a search for meaning, for expression, for heightened significance, and for symbolic understanding.
    • Shoshana Felman, “Forms of Judicial Blindness: Traumatic Narratives and Legal Repetitions”; in Thomas R. Kearns (August 2002). “History, Memory, and the Law”. University of Michigan Press. p.26
  • One of the key elements that Felman claims marks a landmark trial is the way it repeats elements of other trials. The landmark trial is a site of memory, a moment of legal intertextuality in which key elements of the drama of law are reenacted.
  • For Felman the criminal trial always recapitulates law’s troubled relation to trauma. The structure of trauma, she argues, controls the trial, not the reverse. Trials revisit our inability to reason in the face of trauma, our inability to produce an adequate historical record of its workings. As a result, we turn to literature to remember precisely what cannot be made available in the law. Thus the verdict in the Simpson case is at once about what law’s history remembers and what it forgets. As Felman puts it, the verdict in a landmark trial is a decision about “what to admit into, and what to transmit of, collective memory.” She notes that a legal case can be, and Simpson was, a “locus of embodied history, a ‘site of memory’ in Nora’s terms. That case, like other landmark trials, “triggers inadvertently the movement of a repetition or the dynamics of a “legal recall”. . . . [It] repeats . . . all these repetitions-legal, literary, psychoanalytical, historical-by which the trial tries, and retries to resolve the trauma, and by which the trauma inadvertently repeats itself as an unconscious legal memory under the conscious legal process.”

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 814-15
  • Pray, pray, thou who also weepest,—
    And the drops will slacken so;
    Weep, weep—and the watch thou keepest,
    With a quicker count will go.
    Think,—the shadow on the dial
    For the nature most undone,
    Marks the passing of the trial,
    Proves the presence of the sun.
  • The child of trial, to mortality
    And all its changeful influences given;
    On the green earth decreed to move and die,
    And yet by such a fate prepared for heaven.
    • Sir Humphrey Davy, Written after Recovery from a Dangerous Illness.
  • 'Tis a lesson you should heed,
    Try, try, try again.
    If at first you don't succeed,
    Try, try, try again.
  • But noble souls, through dust and heat,
    Rise from disaster and defeat
    The stronger.
  • There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross-bearers here below.
  • As sure as ever God puts His children in the furnace, He will be in the furnace with them.
  • Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of; they just turn up some of the ill weeds on to the surface.

See also