About the author.
Quite early in life - I was born in 1944 - I got interested in reading books of high
literary value. I disliked Thomas Mann and I soon developed a
taste for good novels like those by Jane Austen, Joseph Conrad,
Virginia Woolf and Melville, to mention a few,
all of which also well illustrate my broad taste.
Since I was brought up in Sweden I, of course, also
read all the classics of the Swedish language, like Strindberg
and Almqvist, which are the main figures when it
comes to dense, thrilling, prose in Swedish. I later
discovered Kafka, and the literature of ambiguity.
It was around 1968 when I already had studied at the
University in Gothenburg for some time, History
of Arts, Philosophy and General Literature. I
lived in a small cold flat in the centre of the
town and my eyes had fallen upon a small torn used
volume by Kafka in German, the novel Amerika .
I earlier was damiliar with The Metamorphosis , and
then in Swedish. Anyway, since I had read German
in school, I started out with my small pocket version of
Amerika, and I was immediately struck by the
immense and very odd beauty of the first sentences in this
book, in its original shape, in the language
it was written in. I read the whole book through,
without even once consulting any lexicon.
I guess I must have missed a detail or two,
since my German was far from exquisite. I
was hooked up by Kafka. I read all he had
written, and in the University I wrote small
essays and subject papers on Kafka ( The Metamorphosis ).
It was one major problem that soon became central to me. How
did Kafka do, to acquire this formidable effect, the Kafkaesque,
an effect that scarcely ever anybody, but some of the German
Romantics of the early 19th century, had managed to
create anything even remotely similar to?
I began my
research concerning this problem in 1972. The answer
to my question did not show rapidly. One day in 2001,
late in the evening, I, all of a sudden, got the idea.
I started to investigate this idea further, and now began an
intense study of the Kafka literature in order to find out
whether I was alone in my discovery, or not.
Now I was ready for my second challenge. How could I explain
my views in the best possible manner? Since my understanding
of the subject matter was broad, and a result of many impulses,
and since it came close to the understanding of various
other human phenomena, I decided to let my work reflect
these vast fields in order to make it possible for my
reader to draw his and hers own conclusions, many of
which I have decided not actually to draw myself, but
which all are there implicit.
The result is: Kafka and the kafkaesque.
I sincerely hope you do enjoy!
Kaj Genell, March, 2017.