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Topic: Kafka

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Subject: Kafka
Date Posted: 9/19/2009 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
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I've liked Kafka since I was about 14 years old when I first read The Metamorphosis.  I've reread Meta twice since then for school (once for high school once for college) as well as a bunch of his shorter work including In the Penal Colony and A Country Doctor.  This year I read The Trial and The Castle is next on my TBR pile.  I think he's bloody fascinating.  I have to be in a certain mood to read him, the same way I have to be in the right mood for a David Lynch movie, and I'm sure I'm missing half the symbolism and possible interpretations. 

Are there any other Kafka fans here?  What translators do you prefer?  Which of his works do you like/dislike?

And the man has his own adjective- Kafkaesque- I love that word, how many authors have their own adjectives? Besides Dickens & Shakespeare?

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 11:36 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I found a copy of the Penal Colony at a garage sale today. Haven't read much Kafka, only the Trial  in high school.

what about platonic and Cartesian? Or Kantian, and Hobbesian?  (maybe that was just in my philosophical circles)

Subject: Yes!
Date Posted: 9/21/2009 3:17 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2009
Posts: 169
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"In the Penal Colony" was great. I like how the executioner got depressed and killed himself on the machine.

No one was more neurotic than Franz Kafka. He died well before the German Holocaust, but ALL of his younger siblings were killed in Auschwitz. I find that really disturbing. Great post by the way.

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Another fan here - I read Metamorphosis in school and it really clicked with me. Of the stories mentioned, I believe the only one I haven't read it The Country Doctor.

Jesse - I have to disagree with you that no one was more neurotic than Kafka . . . Poe may have had him beat :-)

Does anyone else see any similarities between Kafka and Poe? When I think of one, I often think of the other, even though their writing styles are quite different. Perhaps it is the "neuroses" factor that makes me associate the two of them.

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 12:01 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I know this is a minor point, but one of his sisters died in Theresienstadt rather than Auschwitz.  With all the crazy deniers out there, accuracy does count.

I love Kafka's writing.  We spent a lot of time on Kafka when I was growing up (I think I might have written at least two papers on The Trial, and one on "The Metamorphosis" when I was in school).  Vanessa - thanks for posting this, I should re-read Kafka as I don't think I've read him in 20 years.  I had a fairly intensely Modernist focused education and haven't looked at a lot of the existentialists since.

I've seen a few really interesting stage productions of Kafka's work - starting with the Baryshnikov production of the Metamorphosis.  A few years ago I saw a really good stage adaptation of The Castle  done by Manhatan Ensemble Theater and the absolutely remarkable Drama of Works did a pretty mindblowing "Puppet Kafka".  I've also seen some really bad productions of Kafka as pretentious undergrads everywhere want to do something of his.

The title of Most Neurotic Writer Ever may be the most hotly contested of all time.  This may just be me, but I think Emily Brontë and those suicides Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath might have to get in on this, too.