: "KAFKA" ( 2021 ) by
Kaj Bernh. Genell.
Unmask all pretentiousness! Culture is the science of generosity.
MY INTENT is to discuss the place of FRANZ KAFKA´S works in the literary tradition and also the Nature of the troubling "Kafkaesque", refuting the not at all uncommon almost childish views of Kafka as ... a "magical realist," or a "religious mystic," or for that matter a ... "writer of Jewish parables."
WHAT IF you had a Dream of a Dream and the two of them could communicate?? That is what happens in a Franz Kafka story! My book "Kafka" analyzes Kafka's novels and short stories. This book deals primarily with the famous Kafka effect, or - the kafkaesque. And it deals with the means that create this effect. These means are largely technical. Thus, in this book, I show how Kafka uses a narratological split, split consciousness, and split Unconscious of the hero to create the Kafkaesque by a rare trick. This new book shows how Kafka became one of the most prominent artists to create and define Modernity. Kafka took part in the thrilling creation of Self-conscience of the 20ieth century, marked by a constant dialogue with Freud and his works. Self-conscience as Man knew it since St. Augustine, the Italian renaissance writers Erasmus, Shakespeare, and Montaigne, and later with the secular Romantics and Hegel swiftly developed within Modernism into something much more complex with the appearance of Freud's "Traumdeutung" in the year of 1900. And Kafka then set out to complete it all. The works of Kafka appeared as a reaction to 1.) Modern times, to 2.) his own personal alienation, and to 3.) Freud.
Kafka's answer to Modernity – to the modern condition – was astonishingly complex, but it turned out to be very accurate and accomplished right from the beginning. When other reactions to the Modern Condition, like Dada, displayed a picture of a chaotic and rebel attitude to reason and morals, Kafka, much like Rimbaud actually, showed a far more complex ability to make modern society's human-understandable itself, in a universal narrative. Kafka, in exploring the Unconscious, as explained by Freud, and in doing so using a Romantic "Ästhetik des Schwebens," is the unique discoverer of the marvels of mind, and is, in this, equal to Freud. I am trying to explain how the kafkaesque itself generates - even today, 100 years after its birth - an interrogation that scrutinizes the Freudian theory and our conception of the unique human consciousness.
Kafka's relation to Freud was somewhat like a son's relation to the father. Hence, Kafka did not acknowledge Freud's discoveries, methods, and notions as truths. But he saw them – ironically enough – as facts. And in a sense, they were. Freud's views were historical facts in their profound influence on Mind and Society the century. Kafka used Freud as part of the ( revealing ) Modern Myth. Kafka used Freud, but Kafka added on top of Freud another split to human consciousness in his literary universe. Kafka thus did not "believe in" Freud, but he was fascinated by him. Freud suited Kafka. He did not look at all to Freud to a great extent, ... did not own several books by Freud ... but he had – like many others – acquired a sort of immediate understanding of Freud's ideas through a kind of everyday osmosis. Kafka started as a writer of lyrical prose, short prose poems in the style of Goethe, Kleist, and Flaubert. But his dream was to write a novel, and it ought to be like the one Flaubert once said he wanted to write: a lovely book about nothing at all. So it happened that Kafka developed a technique for writing novels where he was extending a sole situation into a perfectly static ( i.e., nothingy ) drama displaying a struggle between conscious and unconscious. It also seems as he tried to develop the style of Tieck and the Romantics. Using his extraordinary ( perhaps autistic ) sensibility, Kafka's technique miraculously was born on one evening in 1912, writing the short story "The Verdict." The following day, he even asked his fiancée Felice for its meaning. Later, in 1912 with the writing of "The Metamorphosis" and, in 1913, the unfinished "The Trial," his technique of displaying the Kafkaesque was already full-fledged. Here he – almost FORCE by his own personal and social catastrophe - introduced a pseudo plot in a kind of pseudo novel displaying a story of a split, a struggle of a conscious instance of a person, shown as a hero-figure battling this person's OWN Unconscious. As it turned out, this battle caused a second unconscious part to appear in the universe of this fiction. ( Examples can be found in my book.) It seems that the hero-figure, devoid of his Unconscious, HAD TO develop such an unconscious to be able to handle his surrounding world, which was his original Unconscious. Here we thus are having a triadic structure and a strange meeting of two unconscious instances. This fictional condition primarily results in a double exposure of the unconscious and a strange transcendence of the Ego, which cannot easily be reflected upon since it has no equivalent in reality.
This is NOT EASY TO UNDERSTAND.
As a result of this Kafka-technique, which probably was unconscious (!) to Kafka himself, we are also – apart from the nausea of double Unconscious, a kind of the self-consciousness of the Unconscious - experiencing very intense poetry displaying utter loneliness and in a framework: a sad pseudo-protest against the superpower of civil organization and law in general as well as a melancholy beauty of existence. The like of which nobody else has created: The concept of "Kafkaesque" has been created upon the experience of the works of FK by the Collective Mind, and in some way, it has extended our mode of perception. The concept is vital for both the being and the understanding of our culture and being! My questions regarding this concept, which is somewhat elusive despite its frequency and importance, are mainly two: [ 1. ]: what IS the kafkaesque? (…that is caused by this split ) And [ 2. ]: how did Kafka DO to create this, the" Kafkaesque"?
We are dealing with ideological, cultural, and psychological matters and tacit knowledge, and complicated issues concerning the ontology of fiction. Perhaps the concept of "Kafka" is an ongoing question in Modernity itself that will prevail no matter how much I - and others - are trying to sort out the problem?
My book "Kafka (2021)", is available on Amazon!!
Kaj Bernh. Genell, " Kafka ", in English.
( From "Kafka":)
Kafka often tortures his hero-figure and sometimes even kills him. Kafka uses perversion both in form and in subject. I am, however convinced that Kafka´s technique instigated his choice of subjects, not the reverse. Kafka uses perverted writing in splitting the subject´s conscience, and he is “covering up” his style by using thematic perversion, like in The Penal Colony, where sadomasochist eroticism is the subject. Much has been written on this subject by J.-P. Sartre, Gilles Deleuze, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, as well as by J. Lacan and Horkheimer/Adorno especially with regards to the works of Marquis de Sade. Probably Kafka was directly influenced by de Sade, as well as by Ottave Mirbeau and Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch. The emptiness of de Sade´s Philosophie dans le budoir is, however, both as philosophy and as art all too obvious. It is, like all pornographic literature extremely repetitive ( Cf. S. Sontag ) and thus lacking in structure. Quite as Jacques Lacan says, this book is neither enlightening as philosophy nor concerning insights in the psychological nature of desire. However, one might still, in reading it, reflect upon the social conditions required for perversion to be able to flourish this openly. The French Marquis moves perversely into the area of his sadism, but it is at the same time dissolute sadism within a specific framework that is characterized by rationality. On the other hand, Georges Bataille is never rational but let his lust and anarchy controlled by primitive wishful thinking regarding, and concerning both sexuality and economics.
With Kafka, thus desire is both subject and object. Writing in the case of Kafka is confused writing, despite its clarity. It is confused because he writes writing. It is writing as experience, as communication and as creation in desire. In order to write Kafka needed clothes from the wardrobe of Freud, to take on and off, in rational non-rationality and in autoerotic teasing of his senses, in a play of fulfilled desire, as well as in a play with this play.
Kafka often indulges in advanced sado-masochist wishful thinking. All the preconditions and tools were handily found, since the way to unconscious already have been explored by Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis was sneezed out of Freud´s very erotic nose. To Kafka no drug stimulus were needed; he in fact enjoyed looking at the walls of his inner rooms through all his aliases (i.e. the tales, not the heroes), walls ornated by strong inner forces with, sometimes, caricatures of the Freudian symbolic. Limits for his fantasy were only set by his fear of awakening. Psychoanalysis itself was fulfilling a curious unconscious dream and a desire in the heart of Europe. It was not only the teaching of deliberation and a psychological practice, but it was also a joyous sometimes quite bourgeois reflection concerning inner life. And it became fashion. It could be revolutionary used by anyone with enough imagination and literary technique. Kafka himself was not indulging in the fashionable chitchat in the cafés on psychoanalysis. Kafka felt that he could use psychoanalysis in an extended way, both bringing forth psychoanalysis and criticize it, in bringing forth what he himself had to say with his historical reality, such as WWI, is held at arm length´s distance. “As though conducting an experiment he [ Kafka ] studies what would happen if the results of psychoanalysis were to prove true not merely metaphorically but in the flesh.” ( Th. Adorno, 1967, p. 251.). Reality is brought forth by Kafka casually, en passant, and in fragments. The passing by is a kind of perversity, too. Kafka does many things simultaneously. He desires, he is tormenting himself, he uses satire, and he is in a surrealist manner mocking culture, social order, law, religion and he despises the bourgeoisie. Perversion is his tool and it is intense participation, by intensely not participating at all. It is to draw near in distancing oneself. It is a variation of the grotesque, the grotesque which attracts by being repulsive.
................ b.) KAFKA AND MARXIST THEORY.
Many commentators of Kafka – especially in the 1950ies and 60ies - started out from a Marxist perspective and have seen FK as illustrator of the idea of Entfremdung, displayed by Marx in the Paris manuscripts ( in ”Nationalökonomie und Philosophie” ). This idea of KM – an ontological/sociological one – probably erupts from another term: alienation, which can be found by the early Hegel, the important inspiratory of Marx. Hegel - a philosopher of purely metaphysical kind, a philosopher of Conscience - introduced the concept of "Entfremdung", estrange-ment, in connection with an analysis of the division of labor. Karl Marx defines alienated labor as: labor in order to own. The prerequisite for this definition is class analysis and a criticism of existing capitalist bourgeois economics. Most clearly reflected is this kind of experienced estrangement with respect to Kafka´s works in the animal stories by Kafka, as well as in the history The building of the Great Wall of China, Bense for instance claims. In aesthetics we have come to speak, linked to the original concept of alienation, about the effect of Estrangement (not least through the works of Brecht) and we can meet this effect with Kafka too, and we might see the effect of estrangement as a part of the concept of the Kafkaesque. It is thus part of the effect of the technical efforts of Kafka. This very effect is typical of the genre of literary expressionism (Trakl, Brecht, Morgenstern), and expressionism in turn has long been associated with the works of Kafka, and it was early hinted by the historian Kasimir Edschmid that Kafka´s works belonged to Expressionism. The effect of estrangement was, according to him, describing alienation, reification, linked to modernity, modern technique and the effects of modern economy. Expressionism was however an individualist movement, and as such, according to Marxist theorists, alienated.
Alienation was seen as a symptom as well as the modern artist himself was. Kafka appeared in the midst of this debate on alienation, and he came to illustrate the lonely artist in an alienated world: The big debate around Kafka and alienation had started. It took place primarily in Germany, France and in the newly shaped Czechoslovakia. Important contributors were among others Goldstücker, Garaudy, Riemann, Mittenzwei, Seghers and Kusak. Marxist writers have found Kafka's The Metamorphosis, The Trial, etc. in special to be descriptions of the alienated man in the high capitalist society. Kusak:
”Kafka seems to me as the paramount realist of the 20ieth century, and he saw it [alienation] better than anybody else.” ”/…. / he [ Kafka ] saw the horror of his time .” /…../”As Marxists we must not only see the influence of reality upon Kafka, but also how Kafka can help us solve the enigma of reality.””. Ernst Schumacher, around the year of 1968, in 'Kafka vor der neuen Welt':
“Has not this rightly rejected vulgar sociological approach been replaced, namely with the philosophically idealistic view, and finally with an existentialist, which does Kafka as little right as the other views? They set out with the man's estrangement, that Kafka as few other contemporaries could conceive and portray literary. It follows, that this estrangement would simultaneously be the eternal category of the human being and that human failure is inevitable and must be borne stoically, like Kafka's characters do. I think this kind of "philosophizing" is improper for a true Marxist. ".
”We commonly see Kafka, not as a discoverer of new worlds, but as the shipwrecked. Personally I have to say, that I cannot see the shipwrecked...”
”Marxists have claimed that this conflict ( the inner versus family, the Jew, social society ) ultimately has character of a conflict between classes. Due to his personal situation Kafka experienced the oppositions between classes and the alienation in a more intensified form.”
Main themes are, according to Garaudy, the following three: a.)The animal The theme of awakening: Man is a being, doubting his life. ( Report to an academy, The Metamorphosis, The Burrow.) b.) The search – Theme of searching for a new and a truer life. ( The Trial, The Castle.). c.) Theme of the unfulfilled. ( In all of Kafka´s works.)
”Literary creation is to him the technique of overcoming alienation. Poetry is the opposite of alienation.”
In the early 20ieth century, in the aftermath of the war, discussion on culture often was centered on the concept of disaster like with Spengler. The German sociologist Max Weber also played a part with his ideas of organization theory and was interested in what organization creates, and what can make this run wild. Organization is in itself a potential iron cage for modern Man, according to Weber. The existence of organization, as well as of institution, might thus lead to revolt and chaos. Weber himself had a personal background very similar to that of Kafka. Thus Kafka often also is seen as a dystopian writer, alongside Orwell, prophesizing about a society marked by very little freedom for the common man.
"FELL´S POINT" at Amazon!
My English novel ( ..... under the pen-name of Bill Clactoe
)´ Fell´s Point ´ .
The Lion´s Disease
THE LION´S DISEASE / on Amazon
THE LION'S DISEASE///
Kaj Bernhard Genell
Thirty-five-year-old Sam Diggerson ( the NARRATOR ) is hired as a 3rd officer on m/s Punjab of London. As soon as he is onboard and th4e ship has started on his journey to Surabaya, all of a sudden a Mrs. Williamson gets sick. One-sided blindness has hit her. But it is no ordinary disease. It turns out it stays with her and has a strange form. The blindness alternates from one side to the other side. Continuously. A lion in a cargo hatch is found to be the source. Soon, this new, horrendous sickness, which troubles Mrs. Williamson, is highly contagious. Several others on m/s Punjab get the disease, and it turns out that the whole world fears for this, The Lion's Disease. Soon the British Gov. decides to offer the crew on the unlucky ship to go to Tristan da Cunha. The vessel is not allowed to go to port anywhere. The clever captain of the ship turns this offer down. The captain, crew, and animal carers try to make the best of the situation. Soon the world, however, gets a new surprise, and something perhaps still worse to think of….. Kaj Bernh. Genell /// The Lion's Disease. ---- This novel was written in English, and then transl. by the author into the Swedish idiom.
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