243. (Franz Kafka)

Kafka’s The Trial revolves around the parable of the law; it is the hermeneutic puzzle that promises to be a key to the larger work, though no doubt others have approached the situation conversely, whereby the larger puzzle of the novel is the key for the parable. Whether or not it is appropriate to handle a puzzle as if it were a key, it demands scrutiny: … Continue reading 243. (Franz Kafka)

236. (Christopher Ricks)

What is the appeal of criticism, of reading or doing it? It must rest in beguilement at judgment itself, and at the purity of judgment, as a form of thought, which art and literature represents, and which the literature of modernity, in Flaubert, in Proust, in Kafka, has fetishized, over-determined, and ironized to a remarkable extent. The possibility of judgment itself has become the occasion … Continue reading 236. (Christopher Ricks)

235. (Franz Kafka)

The resemblance between Kafka’s The Castle and the Alice books is obvious. But the differences are more telling. In Kafka’s novel, there is neither madness nor absurdity. Absurdity follows from a lack of reasons (reasons in the Alice books are offered, but they are arbitrary, temporary, nonce); madness from a lack of rationality. In The Castle, K. encounters a surfeit of both reasons and rationality. Everyone he encounters … Continue reading 235. (Franz Kafka)