Juli Zeh, who enjoys an international reputation, is one of the most gifted and productive writers of Germany today. Her dystopian tale Corpus Delicti: Ein Prozess (2009; English translation, 2012) represents a lively, intelligent, and innovative addition to the genre. It presents a picture of a benevolent dictatorship that demands good health as the highest duty of its citizens, in a sequence of dramatic scenes combining the virtues of a thriller with a dystopia focusing on the present-day preoccupation with health and the body. Most segments are presented as scenes of a trial against a biologist who is accused of rebellion against “The Method,” the ruling order of the future state, whose dominant ideology is “Health as the Principle of State Legitimacy.” Thus metaphysical morality and Enlightenment values such as freedom, democracy, and justice have been replaced by a scientific, secular notion of life as the ultimate criterion and value.

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