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Kafka (1 Viewer)

Short Tooth

Senior Member
What are your opinions on the man, the artist, and his art? I'm only just reading my first Kafka piece now but would be interested to see what the masses think of him.
 

velo

Retired Supervisor
I get into his writing. I know nothing of the man except that he must have been whacked to write the way he did. I've read a couple pieces and none of the characters ever seem to be people I could possibly understand. In the Metamorphosis I was ok with Gregor Samsa waking up as a big bug one day, but the family's blase and unsurprised reaction(s) were what made the story a bore to read.

It just didn't scan and I could never achieve suspension of disbelief.

But, as always, YMMV
 

Short Tooth

Senior Member
hmmm.. sounds intriguing. I'm on the Castle at the moment. Quite surreal but the protagonist reacts as we would in such a situation.
 

Dawnstorm

Senior Member
Kafka was a lawyer in training and had to go through Austrian beurocracy in Prague. That pretty much explains his writing. ;-)

I love Kafka, especially his short stories.
 
M

MMack

Began reading The Castle and put it down quite a few times. I dont know where i should begin with him, i've read the metamorphosis and feel as though i'm waiting for something less grievous. Will i find that in Amerika?
 

strangedaze

Senior Member
ull find something less grievous in Amerika, since its light and comedic, but its by far his worst piece of work. BY FAR.

if u want to attack his novels, i would suggest The Trial, since its the most complete of the three.
 
D

Dimitris

The Trial is very good. I think it's a very accurate allegory on the existential problems of man.
 
A

AppleofEris

velo said:
In the Metamorphosis I was ok with Gregor Samsa waking up as a big bug one day, but the family's blase and unsurprised reaction(s) were what made the story a bore to read.

There's really a point to why the family reacted this way to Gregor Samsa becoming a bug. Some believe Kafka used this as an examination of what happens to families when a member of the family dies - or thusly cannot work anymore. That, and other critics believe "Metamorphosis" deals with the importance people place on work and money, seeing as the fact that Gregor Samsa wasn't even surprised he himself woke up as a bug - his only concern was he had to get up to go to work.

Anyway, I love Kafka. I highly suggest everyone read, "The Starving Artist." The piece is not only a great examination of what it is to be an artist, but also, at a very base level, questions whether artists are made by nurture or nature. Are the best artists born with their gifts, or are they the ones that must work hard to hone it? It's all played out in such a strange double-meaning, being that the starving artist isn't what we view today as a starving artist - but a man who performs the art of starving, or fasting for nearly a month for crowds.

The only thing about Kafka is the translation to English makes it a little rough. I'm sure I would have found the writing more aesthetically pleasing if I understood the non-translated versions. Translations always butcher the beauty of linguistics.

~AoE
 

Luzici

Senior Member
I adore Kafka's works. They are, although really contrary to the concept of beauty, of immense forcefulness and effect and I'm unable to put his books down whenever I start to read them. It's difficult to say which work I like the most; the short stories leave a strong impression on me, but his novels with their compact atmosphere win me over as well. I love his dry, succinct language.
 
There's really a point to why the family reacted this way to Gregor Samsa becoming a bug. Some believe Kafka used this as an examination of what happens to families when a member of the family dies - or thusly cannot work anymore. That, and other critics believe "Metamorphosis" deals with the importance people place on work and money, seeing as the fact that Gregor Samsa wasn't even surprised he himself woke up as a bug - his only concern was he had to get up to go to work.

~AoE

I have a somewhat different take on it. As an existentialist, Kafka had a different view on the human experience; one of unabashed negativism. Plainly, he didn't view humans as good and noble creatures, but more akin to insects. In our modern society, there seems to be a growing number of people who view others in this contemptous manner, but there aren't many who, like Kafka, view themselves in this way. It's the end of the story that gives it away, when Gregor's sister exclaims "But how can it be Gregor? If this were Gregor, he'd have realized long ago that human beings can't live with such a creature, and he'd have gone away of his own accord." Clearly, Kafka is Gregor, and he feels great guilt at the way in which he views the human condition and how that in turn makes others feel, yet he can't help but be who he is--he changed from a human being to an insect, and he has no idea how this happened or how to reverse it, he just stubbornly wants to continue being human, 'getting up and going to work' as it were; and his family in turn try their best out of love to believe that he's still human, even though he clearly isn't.
 
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IO think Gregor’s family’s blasé attitude is a fantastic paradox which reveals that all stories of animals are really stories of humans…and Kafka is a master at revealing the absurdity of any fictions machinations and how plot, character and narrative are constantly odds with each other.
 

Also, i don't think Kafka saw people as insects. He used insects to discover new ways of human existence. Kafka never made commentary on societal conditions (as many people think in his books the Trial and the Castle), but with the possibilities of human existence.
 

traveller

Member
I read Metamorphosis and was absolutely blown away. Kafka had such a unique approach to writing. I like what ThePilgrim has said about the book, very similar to my understanding of the content whilst reading it.
 
D

Dr. Malone

I read the Metamorphisis, and in the forty something pages, it pretty much completely changed my ideas about what writing could be...what literature could be. The Stranger is one of the only other books I've read that compares on such a deep level. His balance of simplicity and philosophy explored through surrealism is everything I strive toward.
I hold Kafka as the most impressive writer of the impressive times he lived in. The writers around when he was alive were amazing, yet he blew them all away.
And he never even got anything published, did he? Never even tried. I think he never wanted his stuff published, then his family did it after he died. My kind of guy.
I'm working on The Trial right now. I have in as an eBook if anyone is interested in checking it out.
 

strangedaze

Senior Member
He did publish, mostly short stories in slim volumes. But your sentiment is bang on - he was reticent to publish and had to be prodded big time.
 
T

Truth-Teller

Kafka is one overrated hack, seriously.

He should've stayed unpublished.
 
D

Dr. Malone

Yeah truth teller, he's no Stephen King...so obviously you wouldn't like him.
 
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