FranzKafka: otherness in the labyrinth of
There are two ways to miss the point of Kafka’s works. One is to interpret
them naturally, the other is the supernatural interpretation. (Walter
Benjamin, ‘FranzKafka: On the Tenth Anniversary of his Death’, 1934)
As we have seen through the earlier chapters of this book, Kafka has
commonly, if not universally, been regarded as a staple of absurdism.
John Hoyles puts the case forcefully: ‘In his three novels Kafka registers the world as absurd, resists it via the absurd, and takes refuge from
it in the
This book offers a comprehensive account of the absurd in prose fiction. As well as providing a basis for courses on absurdist literature (whether in fiction or in drama), it offers a broadly based philosophical background. Sections covering theoretical approaches and an overview of the historical literary antecedents to the ‘modern’ absurd introduce the largely twentieth-century core chapters. In addition to discussing a variety of literary movements (from Surrealism to the Russian OBERIU), the book offers detailed case studies of four prominent exponents of the absurd: Franz Kafka, Samuel Beckett, Daniil Kharms and Flann O'Brien. There is also wide discussion of other English-language and European contributors to the phenomenon of the absurd.
In an essay "Ein Versuch der Restitution (An Attempt at Restitution)" delivered as a form of a speech at the opening of Stuttgart's House of Literature, W. G. Sebald asked about the usefulness of literature. This book illustrates some of the recurring concerns of, and tensions in, Sebald's writing: the interanimation of historical and literary discourses, and the clash of individual and collective memories. The coincidence of life and death, and the collision of documentary evidence with the contingent powers of the imagination are also explored. The first set of essays is devoted to issues of translation and style, and explores the revisionist potential of translation, and the question of translation into Sebald's poetry. It is argued that Sebald sought to follow Franz Kafka's stricture through the strategic deployment of 'unwords'. The book examines Sebald's prose works with a reading of Vertigo as an exercise in Surrealist literary historiography, and suggests that The Emigrants can be read as a contest between vision and obscurity. The implications of historical blind spots are pursued in the reading of Anglo-Irish themes in The Rings of Saturn. The various fragments of Sebald's aborted 'Corsica Project' offer a precious glimpse into a work-in-progress. The book investigates the extent to which H.G. Adler's work functions as a key intertext for Austerlitz, and helped determine Sebald's role and identity as a writer attempting to render aspects of the Holocaust. It also explores the two key aspects of Sebald's aesthetic technique, namely prose and photography.
Franz Kafka on the (im)possibility of Law’s self-reflection
insurance law practitioner Dr. jur. FranzKafka not simply write a work
of well-organised legal sociology? Is the whole point of Kafka's
parable to provide legal theory or indeed legal practice with
suggestions as to how they could deal with the paradoxes of the Law? Or
does legal literature have an added value, over and above the benefits
it provides for legal theory?
The key may be found in certain
The violence of doors that never close in Magritte, Kafka and Buñuel
In this chapter, I examine
representations of the threshold in René Magritte’s series of
door paintings (1933–62), FranzKafka’s parable ‘Before
the Law’ (1905) and Luis Buñuel’s film The
Exterminating Angel ( 1962 ). With reference to
the Surrealist approach to the dream as a means of subverting
‘normality’, I explore the allegorical engagement of these
figures with the
, of an
incomprehensible and seemingly limitless conspiracy that exerts an obscure
but total control over the lives of the film’s characters, a number
of commentators have also remarked upon similarities to the writings of
FranzKafka (Baroncelli 1961 ; Rhode 1966 : 109) whose novels depict individuals lost in the labyrinthine
bureaucracy of unfathomable organisations. Kafka’s use of space, like
Rivette’s, is designed to
Shore (2002: about FranzKafka, in any real sense, or not); in Poul Ruders’s opera Proces Kafka
(Copenhagen, 2005 – which certainly is about Kafka); and indeed in ‘The
Kafka Academy’- a weekly satirical column by Ted Wragg (in The
Guardian’s education supplement) on the manic bureaucracy inflicted on
the English school system. The adjective ‘Beckettian’ is almost as common
as ‘Kafkaesque’, while ‘it’s like waiting for God-oh’ has even been intoned
in the graveyards of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The director of London’s
South Bank arts complex, calling for a ‘world
mediocrity. It doesn't make anyone an artist’ because the ‘most important element is missing … the essential faculty of imagination’ ( LH 24). Taking writers such as FranzKafka, Mary Shelley, Sylvia Plath and Oscar Wilde as his models, he prioritises ‘the wild implausibility, boldness and brilliance of the artist's idea or metaphor rather than the arrangement of paragraphs’ ( LH 21–2).
The validity of his contention would be drowned out a month later. His appearance at the Independent 's Bath Literature Festival prompted an even louder uproar than
. As one critic observed, the story is also about the demise of the meritocratic ideal: Raymond made his money co-opting the political slogans of liberation and resistance of his youth to advertise holidays with ‘a simulacrum of freedom’.
A highlight of Love + Hate is the insightful literary essay on FranzKafka. Kureishi first discovered the Czech-born author's haunting, puzzling novella The Metamorphosis (1915), about alienation, authority and the mythical transformation of salesman Gregor Samsa into a monstrous insect, as an anxious teen
. Kureishi especially admired Ostrovsky's radically funny, unromantic view of humanity. From the play's British premiere at Riverside Studios on 22 June 1982 he earned £250. In the same year he adapted The Trial (written in 1914–1915; first published 1925), Czech-born FranzKafka's story of Josef K's strange, bewildering world of nightmare and arrest by a capricious, unfathomable court, for broadcast on Radio 4 on 29 November 1982. The BBC payments exceeded what theatres could afford and he received £600 plus repeats fees. A few of his later short stories (‘The Body