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Main page » Non-Fiction » Science literature » Literature Studies » Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (Theory and History of Literature)

Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (Theory and History of Literature)


According to Deleuze & Guattari, we have suffered too long amidst the retrograde critical judgements of mainstream Kafka scholarship. Ad nauseum, these pedestrian hacks have given us Kafka the alienated loner, Kafka the neurotic metaphysician, Kafka the theological invert, Kafka the gynephobic prisoner of ascesis, Kafka the self-hating Jew, Kafka the suicidal insomniac. Scholars have made their reputations by sending this great author on greased skids to Hell, earmarking him as an avatar of the Negative, a nodal point of absurdity and paradox, the pilgrim of an epic and hallucinatory Guilt Trip (partly at fault are the Muir translations, which categorically pitch the Kafkan voice as a syntax of doom and alienation). No doubt Kafka suffered immensely in his professional, family, and erotic life, in the anti-Semitic maw of Czech nationalism, in the iron-maiden of terrors both historical and metaphysical, but critics who reach their limit in expounding the pain and absurdity of the Kafka trajectory are providing us with a false and incomplete picture of this sublime literary event.
D & G decided to bring the hammer down on these reflexive doomsayers, to restore some of the joy and vibrant panache to Kafka studies. They wanted to bring him "`a little of this joy, this amorous political life that he knew how to offer, how to invent. So many dead writers must have wept over what was written about them. [We] hope that Kafka enjoyed the book that we wrote about him'"(xxv). It is useful to recall the evening Kafka read the opening chapter of *The Trial* to his circle of literary friends, assailed by roars of laughter, Kafka himself laughing so hard he had to constantly stop reading to wipe tears from his eyes.

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Tags: Kafka, Literature, prisoner, ascesis, gynephobic, Theory, History, Toward