THE uniqueness of the works of Franz Kafka and the perplexing historical accuracy of the concept of the Kafkaesque are both phenomena that over the years have been noticed by many readers and scholars. This book sets out to unravel the enigma of this very concept, by reference to the process of creation, and to Kafka´s implicit use of two unconscious levels within the universe of discourse of his most important works. Always a fruitful explanation of the uniqueness of these works has been missing. Scholars have ever since the 1930s been noticing the extraordinary qualities of the Kafka text. Strange - Kafkaesque - features have been attributed to the short stories and the novels of Kafka. The Kafka hero has - rightly - been seen as a mere figure, and the " dream-like " landscape-universe has been seen as characteristic, and one has frequently been looking upon these entities, together with a few stylistic features, as technical dominants in the shaping of the concept of the Kafkaesque.
This book displays a model, together
with a biographical
survey and a historical perspective
on possible influences, that,
quite reversely, forms a hermeneutic
explanation to these features,
as well as to what is denoted by the concept. This is achieved
from the perspective of a dynamic contextual center, explained
in a model containing three levels, levels steadily forming
the discourse, typical of Kafka.
The veil of mystery may never
be lifted when it comes to Kafka´s classics of Modernity.
It might be essential to know about the technique behind
the Kafkaesque to be able to reflect upon the Self-consciousness
of Modern Man of the 20th century, a century so intensely
marked by a dialogue between society and the works and
ideas of Sigmund Freud.
Self-consciousness of Man, as it
appeared with St. Augustine, the great Italian Renaissance
writers, Erasmus, Shakespeare, Montaigne, the German secular
Romantics and Hegel, swiftly developed into something even
much more complex with the appearance of Freud and the
publication of his Traumdeutung in the year of 1900,
and, more so, with the creation of the Kafkaesque, with
the works of Kafka, around 1912.
displays a distinct answer to the question regarding the uniqueness of
Kafka and regarding the concept of the kafkaesque and how Kafka managed
to achieve this very effect of the Kafkaeasque through his special
technique. My work is an attempt to look for the meaning of the use of
the kafkaic style. The uniqueness of the kafkaesque is noticed by many
others but here it is explained by reference to the process of creation
of the kafkaesque. Through the years this explanation has been missing.
Kafka´s uses two unconscious levels in his major works.
Sholars like W. Benjamin, Th. Adorno, M. Walser and H.
Hiebel have noticed the extraordinary experienced qualities
of the kafka text, the strange features owned by the hero,
the hero as a mere figure and the “dream-like” universe.
But I am displaying a model that can bring these features
into a dynamic scheme, explained from an author´s
( albeit unconscious ) view.
It is in fact essential for Modern Man - FOR US - to be aware of
this technique, to be able to reflect on the picture
of Modern Man. Kafka was part of the creation of THE
Self-conscience in the 20ieth century, marked by a
constant dialogue with Freud and his works. Self-conscience
as Man knew it since St. Augustine, the Italian
renaissance writers, Erasmus, Shakespeare and
Montaigne and later with the secular Romantics
and Hegel, swiftly in Modrnism developed into
something much more complex with the appearance
of Freud and the publication of the Traumdeautung
in the year of 1900. And Kafka fulfilled it all.
The works of Kafka appeared as a reaction to
1.) Modern times, to 2.) his own personal
alienation and to 3.) Freud.
to Modernity – to the modern condition –
was an astonishingly complex one, but it
turned out to be very accurate and accomplished
right from the very beginning. When other
reactions to the modern condition, like Dada,
displayed a picture of a chaotic and a rebel
attitude to reason and morals, Kafka,
like Rimbaud, showed a far more complex
ability to encompass the soul of humans
in relation to the Modern society in a
Kafka´s relation to Freud was somewhat
like that of a relation of a son to the
father. Thus Kafka did not acknowledge
Freud´s discoveries, interpretations, methods
and notions as truths. But he saw them –
ironically – as facts. And in a sense they
were. Freud´s views were historical facts
in their deep influence on mind and society
of the century. Hence Kafka used Freud
as part of the Modern Myth.
Kafka did not “believe in” Freud, but he was
fascinated by him. He did not study Freud
at great extent, but he had – like many others –
acquired a sort of immediate understanding of his
ideas, through a kind of everyday osmosis.
Kafka started out as a writer of lyrical prose,
short prose poems. But his dream was to write
a novel, and it should be a novel like the one
Flaubert ( Kafka´s literary idol ) wanted to
write: a very beautiful book about nothing
at all. It also seems as he wanted to develop
the style of Tieck and the Romantics. So it
turned out that Kafka now developed a technique
for writing novels where he was extending a
sole situation into a perfectly static ( i.e. nothing )
drama displaying a struggle between conscious and unconscious.
Using his extraordinary ( perhaps autistic )
sensibility his technique, the kafkaic,
miraculously was born in 1912 with the
writing of the short story of The Verdict.
He asked his fiancée Felice for the meaning
Later, with the writing of the unfinished The Trial,
his technique of displaying the Kafkaesque was already
full-fledged. Here he – almost FORCE by his own personal
and social catastrophe - introduced a pseudo plot in a
kind of pseudo novel displaying a story of a split, a
struggle of a conscious instance of a person, shown as
a hero-figure battling this person´s OWN unconscious.
As it turned out, this battle originated – caused - a
second unconscious part to appear in the universe of
this fiction. It seems that the hero-figure, devoid
of his unconscious, HAD TO develop such an unconscious
to be able to handle his surrounding world, which was
his original unconscious. Here we thus are having a
triadic structure and a strange meeting of two
This fictional condition primarily results in a
double exposure of the unconscious and secondly
in a strange transcendence of the Ego, which
cannot easily be reflected upon, since it has
no equivalent in reality.
As a result of this kafkaic technique, which
probably was unconscious (!) to Kafka himself,
we are also – apart from the nausea of double
unconscious, a kind of the self-consciousness
of the unconscious - experiencing a very
intense poetry displaying utter loneliness
and in a framwork : a sad pseudo-protest
against the super power of civil organization
and law in general as well as a melancholy
beauty of existence. The like of which never
again has been created. Cf. www.kajgenell.com/index.html
fredag 16 november 2018
torsdag 15 november 2018
It looked like it was going to be another perfect day in this perplexingly hot Swedish summer. On one early morning in June, exactly half a year since he was released from a county prison after serving time for committing a theft of a dire painting, a Rembrandt alas!, at an art museum, Edward woke up in his bed with a strange thought in his head:
”Content is something very small.” The old man looked at the clock that was standing on the bookcase, which was placed right across the room, approximately ten feet from his bed. It was 07.00 AM. At the same time he got a glimpse from the book which he had placed on the bedside table the night before. Actually he had only managed to read one single page in it and this was, he thought, due to the extraordinary tricky language in it, he thought. The book was an early novel by Joseph Conrad. JC was one of the greatest writers of all time. And what Edward was thinking right now was precisely that content in novels usually is something very small
Form is, by contrast, something more important. This idea wasn´t really his, but came from a boo by Sartre, the title of which he had long forgotten. He was very good at forgetting things nowadays. The notion presented by Jean-Paul Sartre wasn´t very strange or remarkable per se, but it was a strange notion to wake up with.
Edward Tegelkrona had expected to wake at sunrise. The alarm was set just as a precaution. Now he woke at 07.00 AM and to top it all right out of a dream. He noticed that was all sweaty on his chest. Then he remembered:
The dream hadn´t at all been about Sartre, but it had had to do with a re-meeting with old buddies from his time in the Army. But in the dream all of them had been assembled in a small flea market in a suburb, like the ones organized by the Missionary Churches. Edward had been buying an old infantry cap from a poor collection of hats managed by a very old spinster in black, and it was an infantry cap, from which it was clear that it was a cap of a Private Second Class. But Edward himself, in the dream, knew he himself actually was a Corporal. And this, while many old-age comrades from the old good times irradiated around him, snapping, stuttering and arguing about all their peculiar hobbies, which they had acquired as retirees, not to succumb to sin, drinking and sadness. Thus, an older white-haired companion, with great tattoos, - Edward hadn´t the slightest idea who he was - , had begun to cultivate small mice as a pastime. The former comrade explained decently and with an intense, ridiculous and intrusive seriousness how crucial it was for the half-rats to have walls in their housing, perforated with small holes for the sake of ventilation. Suddenly the whole antiquarian-like room was completely flooded by these little animals, irrigating here and there, plaguing the retirees, who occasionally mentioned their memories of canteens, kettles, hand grenades, and pea soup. But Edward could not in any way get rid of the silly cap. Without wasting more time on trying to remember more of the dream, even though it certainly had a significant message, Edward pulled off the white t-shirt and stretched out for a new one that he had already placed on the big radio close by on the previous night. The radio was a big, black, more than 20 years old, JVC radio device, standing next to his bed. He now swung his legs to the floor while listening to the brittle summer noises from the birds and the bikes from outside softly intruding into his flat by the left-open balcony door. He had placed his large, pale feet on the naked floor but could not perceive weather it was cold or not due to the damages caused to his nerve ends in legs and feet caused by excessive smoking and use of alcohol as well as misuse of medical drugs.
He heard the engine of a motorcycle down on the street. “I guess it is Spontlav.” Edward said to himself. Spontlav was one of his neighbours, living at the 1st floor, that drove an old Harley Davidson.
It was a very peaceful summer´s morning. It was all very nice and tender. Little did Edward know what had been going on in the house during the early hours.
Perhaps as a sign of hesitation before the activities of the day Edward´s dull gaze again fell on the book by Conrad. “Imagine no longer being able to read a book!” he contorted while he wept his nose with the back side of his left hand, but he soon evaded this thought, since he thought he would not disgrace himself by starting this beautiful day negatively. He harked, snarled and panted, as was his habit, and then looked theatrically at the window and the balcony door, where light softly entered. Sometimes, when his mind was ambivalent, which often was the case, he almost felt sighted. Somewhere inside, he thought he no longer was able to concentrate as much as needed to be able to properly read books.
- “Ah, he cried out. The weather is super!”
Aside from sleeping Edward´s favorite occupation nowadays was the taking of long walks. Reading books was, according to Tegelkrona, something that belonged to the youth. Leon Battista Alberti, the inventor of perspective and an erudite humanist in Renaissance Italy, did not read a single book after the age of thirty.
The weather on this Monday was very favorable to Edward’s plan for this day, a plan which consisted in the rather pleasant activity of delivering two small plastic pots containing small Monstera Deliciosa plants to his younger sister, living in Billdal at the other site of the town. His sister, Janina Blingstav-Tungspetz, married to Jan-Albin Tungspetz, wasn´t at home today but resided with her daughter in a bungalow in the southern parts of Halland, by the sea. But Edward had the key to Janina´s place. It would of course had been much nicer to meet with Janina, but it was under all circumstances a pleasant task to have, this delivering flowers to her for a retiree like Edward, especially when the weather was such a marvel. The paper bag with the two pots in it waited apt in the hall. The Monstera Deliciosas had long been under permanent ban of the EU, because they were considered to be poisonous. During many years you could get hold of a single Monstera anywhere in Sweden in any store at all. If you eat leaves of Monsteras, you will end up dead, especially if you are a child. But now the ban was lifted, and Janina had no children of small age any longer. The house where Edward resided was an old functionalist one, built during the 2nd World War. Many houses around looked just like Edward´s and all of them were situated on a hill, quite in the centre of Gothenburg. In the areas between the houses there were lawns with trees and lots of greenery, playing grounds for children, small parking lots, and … nothing more. The area of houses, although it was all inhabited, seemed all deserted. The parking places were very few, but the whole area was designed and prospected long ago, when not everyone drove around in the city in a car.
onsdag 14 november 2018
T HE uniqueness of the works of Franz Kafka and the perplexing historical...
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