California Intercontinental University 2009 Scholarship Prize Essay

Rotpeter’s transformation into an educated creature produces the vexed image of the emancipatory promise at best.

The dilemma of Kafka’s misguided creature fundamentally questions the Humanist educational agenda and the dilemma it creates by trying to lift all creatures out of a state of “Unmündigkeit”. Boa points to serious incongruities in Kafka’s “Castle” regarding narrative unity, defying completeness in his final novel.

The visual arts component brings a new dimension to the depiction of the invariably sinister situations that extend to contemporary political conditions. Modlinger suggests that the imprisonment in Theresienstadt by an absurd and deadly system mirrors the situation in Kafka’s “The Castle” in reverse.

The observations on Welles present an approach for a new political Kafka interpretation. Sebald’s novel adopts configurations developed by both writers in this “quest for identity and recognition…/and/…for history and memory.” Theresienstadt (near Prague) is the historic manifestation of Kafka’s castle with Adler and Sebald acting as surveyors of the “borderland between witnessing, memory and poetics.” Kucher points out a reversal of sorts also occuring in the best-selling novel of Holocaust survivor E. The theme of an “alienating brutal power” is manifest in the absurd story of an SS-man with the appearance of the stereotypical Jew of Nazi racial science, Schulz, who can adopt the identity of his Jewish childhood friend he murdered.

investigates the ape’s report as one of the most incisive critiques of Enlightenment models of education and subject formation in Kafka’s work and in his era.

Rotpeter’s enforced journey to Europe becomes a perverted “Bildungsreise”.Coming to terms with the “Naïveté and Arrogance of the Guardian” as well as the “childish fantasies” as regards the Interior Realm—its appearance and meaning.Modern man’s befuddlement and retreat before the spiritual realm is foreordained by Kafka in Josef K.’s haste to leave the Cathedral. Kafka’s enduring importance is also evident from the production of second- and third-generation post-Shoah writers and filmmakers.Walter Sokel’s research also includes aspects of memory in and about Kafka.For the MLA Session Roundtable, we invite presentations on cultural memories in Kafka scholarship; Kafka’s modernist texts; Kafka in comparison with his contemporaries; and Kafka’s distinct “direct style”.focuses on the origin and ontological status of “peculiar” creatures such as the horses in “Ein Landarzt”, the jumping balls in “Blumfeld”, Odradek in “Die Sorge des Hausvaters” to demonstrate how these are connected to Kafka’s procedure of testing language, namely, approaching the inexplicable through minute description.She applies Freud’s economic concept of the “comic” proposing that Kafka posits an alternative to the rational, purpose-directed economy of his time.Suspending the economy of cause and effect, according to Fluhrer, reveals the origin of the obscure.refers to Kafka’s wish in a letter to Kurt Wolff (1915) to omit any drawing of Gregor’s insect shape on the cover of his book.Kafka as a figure of cultural memory links the world before the Shoah, early modernism and religious traditions with post-1945 memory and postmodernism.500-word abstracts are Connecting with the preceding Roundtable on Kafka’s influence on Post-Holocaust Literature and Film (MLA Boston 2013), the 2014 Roundtable further explores his works as historical documents pointing to contemporary issues and offering daring new visions at the intersection of the human-animal and human-object world, and other transient moments, “experiments” with alternative realities.


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