Franz Kafka

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Michael Wood
978-0-7463-0795-3

A study, through close attention to his language, of the way Franz Kafka invented (or seemed to invent) the twentieth century as we have come to experience it.

Description: This is a study of Kafka’s writing in the context both of his own complicated world – that of a Czech Jew writing in German within a crumbling empire – and of the later world he seems uncannily to have predicted. Once regarded as a writer of dreamlike fantasies, he is now seen as an expert guide to the all too real darknesses of our time. ‘Do you think we would arrest someone who hasn’t done anything?’ This question, as J P Stern reminds us, might have come from a book by Kafka, but doesn’t. It is the remark of a Gestapo officer to a Jewish woman about to be taken to a death camp. I concentrate firmly on Kafka’s language and on his ideas about writing, but not to the exclusion of history or politics. On the contrary. Language in this context is history and politics, a privileged point of access to Kafka’s understanding of his time and ours.

 

Author: Wood, Michael

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