Companion to the Works of Franz Kafka (Studies in German by James Rolleston

By James Rolleston

No different 20th-century author of German-language literature has been as absolutely accredited into the canon of global literature as Franz Kafka. The unsettlingly, enigmatically surreal international of Kafka's novels and tales keeps to fascinate readers and critics of every new new release, who in flip proceed to discover new readings. something has develop into transparent: even though all theories try and acceptable Kafka, there isn't any one key to his paintings. The problem to critics has been to offer a robust viewpoint whereas taking account of past Kafka examine, a problem that has been met via the individuals to this quantity. individuals: JAMES ROLLESTON, CLAYTON KOELB, WALTER H. SOKEL, JUDITH RYAN, RUSSELL A. BERMAN, RITCHIE ROBERTSON, HENRY SUSSMAN, STANLEY CORNGOLD, BIANCA THEISEN, ROLF J. GOEBEL, RICHARD T. grey, RUTH V. GROSS, SANDER L. GILMAN, JOHN ZILCOSKY, MARK HARMAN JAMES ROLLESTON is Professor of German at Duke college.

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Extra info for Companion to the Works of Franz Kafka (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)

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There is no omniscient narrator who allows the reader to enter the mind of any other character or who intrudes with information and opinions of his own. It is through the protagonist’s consciousness alone that the reader gains access to the story. The uni-mental perspective is also the perspective of the dreaming mind. Beissner’s notion of the uni-mental perspective of Kafka’s works seemed to me an ideal corroboration of the dreamlike or oneiric principle that I saw structuring Kafka’s fiction.

Adorno turned against the view, initiated by Max Brod, of Kafka’s works as religious allegories, which had been the principal approach to Kafka until then. It equated over-arching figures in his works, such as the father in “Das Urteil,” the Court in Der Proceß, the Castle bureaucracy in Das Schloß, with divinity. This view of Kafka had always disappointed me. I felt that its facile subordinating of Kafka to traditionally received patterns of thinking cheated us of the fascinating novelty and strange power of his work.

I too used my few spare hours of late evenings and nights to write these stories, and titled the volume they eventually formed “Out of the World Night,” alluding with the title to their source in my dreams, to the nocturnal hours of their composition, and to the nightmarish look history had assumed at the time — the middle of the Second World War — 38 K WALTER H. SOKEL when the fate of civilization hung in the balance. Contemporary reality seemed bent on imitating Kafka in a gruesome way. Kafka’s effect upon me as reader was more lasting in my life, however, since the compulsive need to seek to understand him led to my choice of profession.

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