Kafka This Report Aims to Present Term Paper

Pages: 5 (2063 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature


This report aims to present my findings on my study and research of Franz Kafka. Although there are literally thousands of books, articles and journals that cover Kafka in one way or another, this report honed in on the famous author through the work David Zane Mairowitz and Robert Crumb entitled Introducing Kafka. "Virtually unknown during his lifetime, the works of Kafka have since been recognized as symbolizing modern man's anxiety-ridden and grotesque alienation in an unintelligible, hostile, or indifferent world."(Franz Kafka (1883-1924)) in my opinion this particular work was a perfect introduction into the life and times of Franz Kafka because the book provided the insight in an entertaining and comical manner. The book was a well done mix of illustrated biography and extremely funny adaptations. Although I have read some of Kafka's work prior to this experience, I feel that it would suffice as an excellent beginning for those who have never experienced Kafka's genius while at the same time also serving as a platform to a new level of understanding for those who have already read and love the author's works. Mairowitz the author and Crumb as illustrator allowed for the reader to visualize the peculiar and at time eccentric world in Kafka's work. In addition, what made this work so good was that it covered all of the bases including "The Judgment," "The Trial," "The Castle," "A Hunger Artist," and "The Metamorphosis." Many feel Kafka lived in a glass house and these adaptations may have made that more true than ever before.

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Term Paper on Kafka This Report Aims to Present My Assignment

Franz Kafka was born in Prague on July 3, 1883, and lived until June 3, 1924. Most consider him to be a German Language novelist and he is also considered to be one of the most and possible the top authors in terms of influential appeal in the 20th-century. His middle-class Jewish Bohemian decent has been credited as the source for his vast insights into the inner workings of the mind and his life in Prague has been credited with his understanding of the social classes. "Of course this is one reason, one very powerful reason, for this obsession with power, his feelings about his father, which he summed up in the famous letter to his father which is to my mind, one of the most compelling pieces of personal literature that anybody's ever read in our time, or anybody's ever written in our time. Always in very, very strong imagery; I mean, he sees his father as laying down across the entire map of Europe for example, and covering that much territory." (Radio National) Kafka was a bright man who studied law and was employed as a legal clerk in the workmen's compensation division of the Austro-Hungarian government. "The feeling of impotence, even in his rebellion, was a syndrome that became a pervasive theme in his fiction. Kafka did well in the prestigious German high school in Prague and went on to receive a law degree in 1906." (Franz Kafka (1883-1924))

Ironically, his being an author was not well-known during his life time and in fact many of his greatest achievements in literature were published posthumously. "None of Kafka's novels was printed during his lifetime, and it was only with reluctance that he published a fraction of his shorter fiction." (Franz Kafka (1883-1924)) Some of his works include major novels like the 1925 Der Prozess translated as the Trial; the 1937 Das Schloss translated as the Castle, and his 1930 Amerika which was thought to be the first novel that he wrote around 1913 but was the last to be published. Kafka was a naturally gifted author that today we know wrote in a very clear and highly precise manner. I believe that Kafka's writing in and of itself presented his world in a very dreamlike way by which his characters are heavily burdened with things like guilt, isolation, stress and anxiety.

These characters, and most experts belief he was writing about himself but this is merely speculation, are constantly in futile searches for their own personal salvation from what ever vice they perceive to be chaining them. "Kafka lived his life in emotional dependence on his parents, whom he both loved and resented. None of his largely unhappy love affairs could wean him from this inner dependence; though he longed to marry, he never did. Sexually, he apparently oscillated between an ascetic aversion to intercourse, which he called "the punishment for being together," and an attraction to prostitutes. Sex in Kafka's writings is frequently connected with dirt or guilt and treated as an attractive abomination." (Franz Kafka (1883-1924))

There is no doubt that no college education can be complete today with the student reading Kafka's masterpiece short story Die Verwandlung translated as the Metamorphosis where again Kafka's real world transforms a poor sole into a nightmare transformation that may offer how many of us feel in our day-to-day lives. Some of Kafka's other important stories that he wrote include the 1913 Das Urteil translated as the Judgement the 1919 Ein Landarzt translated as the a Country Doctor, the 1920 in der Strafkolonietranslated as in the Penal Colony and one of my ultimate favorites the 1922 Ein Hungerkunstler translated as a Hunger Artist.


Although David Zane Mairowitz's writing style was very lucid and provided a solid foundation for learning the inner workings of Kafka, in my opinion, the real jewels in this book, Introducing Kafka was the abundant and extremely entertaining artworks by Robert Crumb. I feel as though Robert Crumb was very in tune with the true Franz Kafka and could therefore utilize this inherent knowledge to clearly and accurately translate Kafka's words into ideal two and three dimensional illustrations.

The book was not just an animated comic book or still cartoon rendition. The art work throughout the book was as good as or even better than many of the modern day Walt Disney movies that I have seen in which the illustrations are computer enhanced to build reality and life into the scenes and characters. In this work, Crumb seems to have captured the true underlying message and essence of Kafka. Of course, David Mairowitz did an excellent job in his own literate presentation of his unique understanding of Kafka - but, this book certainly was made better because of the fact that Robert Crumb's illustrations presented a satisfying and artistic medium that allowed for the reader to take into consideration the life and times of Kafka and his posthumous fame. In my research I was able to see via the internet some of the original photographs that were used by Crumb as models for this book.


David Zane Mairowitz wrote a very good summary of Franz Kafka's life and work. "I always like to think that if Kafka had been called Mairowitz or Kanowski or Blumenthal there wouldn't be a word 'Blumenthalesque'. I'm afraid that Kafka is such a wonderful name, such a wonderful word, that it lends itself to being elaborated as an adjective, but that said I think that the problem with the word 'Kafkaesque' is that most people know the word 'Kafkaesque' but they don't know Kafka. In other words, Kafkaesque is a word which has come into the current vocabulary, I mean for the last 30 years or so, it's a word that you can find in some dictionaries now, and it has all kinds of connotations, which have been interpreted as having to do with Franz Kafka. I would argue that a lot of what we think of as Kafkaesque is only marginally, or has only marginally to do with Kafka himself." (Radio National)

The book contained all of Kafka's best characters. Mairowitz actually impressed me most with his very expressive introduction. It allows the reader to see what they may have had in common with Kafka and therefore creating an immediate emotional bond. This book may in a sense have taken away from some of the true literature-based genius of Kafka by presenting him as a scared little boy who feels he is unequipped to live in the real and harsh world. but, at the same time, this approach may concur with the many experts who believe that Kafka was in fact presenting some innate autobiographical insights into his own fears and stresses. "Well of course Jews in Prague at that time are Jews anywhere in Eastern Europe at that time who were always considered to be the outsiders and did not have all the rights that non-Jews had, and couldn't work wherever they wanted and so on. And for someone like Kafka, who immediately accepts the moral judgement of society against himself, if somebody points to him on the street and said, 'Dirty Jew', instead of defending himself, he takes that upon himself. One thing we know about Kafka is that he was always fascinated by animals. You find animals in his stories all the time. Of course he transforms himself into a cockroach and a dog, and a… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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