Adam Ash

Your daily entertainment scout. Whatever is happening out there, you'll find the best writing about it in here.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bookplanet: the only Kafkaesque writer was Kafka

'Ever since the publication of Kafka's major fiction in the mid-1920s, beginning a year after his death in 1924, there has been a certain perplexity about how to discuss this strange body of work. From the outset, Kafka's writing struck readers as quintessentially modern--indeed, he was often seen, and with the passage of time would continue to be seen, as a paradigmatic instance of literary modernism. Yet the peculiar fact is that there are no other modern writers who really resemble him. Kafka's unnerving subversion of the assumptions of literary realism has often been seized on as a central expression of his modernist iconoclasm, but nothing akin to it is detectable in the fiction of Musil, Mann, Joyce, Woolf, or Faulkner. He made himself the prose master of a world of bafflement--a condition shared equally if differently by his protagonists and his readers--in which the uncanny could explode without warning from a junk room, from the ring of a doorbell, from a portrait hanging in a seedy office. He created floundering central characters stripped of all but the most vestigial personal memory; social institutions driven by what appeared to be an insane illogic; representations of urban and rural space that were weirdly elastic, resistant to any coherent mapping.' More here.


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