Kafka and the Critics

Saturday, November 5th, 2005

Many of the readers of this weblog know that I am huge fan of Franz Kafka. I’m also a huge fan of Milan Kundera partly because of the way he writes about Kafka and Musil. Thanks to Daniel Green’s link to a review of Roberto Calasso’s, I shall be purshasing K.

I’ve always avoided most writing about Kafka. I just don’t find a lot of literary criticism interesting in the first place. Because of this, I don’t know if I would make much of a graduate-level professor (but I do remember many of my own professors, themselves critics, confessing to their own disdain for overt politics and the influece of certain criticism on their personal enjoyment and excitement for whatever they read). I don’t really need anybody writing to me about what’s wrong with Kafka’s Ks, his novels, Kafka himself, Max Brod, Milton, or any other author, and I hope that Calasso’s reading doesn’t prove out as apologia.

What I like is interesting and insightful writing about writing as thought and play in whatever form. Is Kafka an excellent novelist? I have no idea. Do Kafka’s novels make me sit back and go wow? Yup. Just like Marquez. Just like Alice Munro. Wow is not a litcrit term, though.


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