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Kafka: A Guide for the Perplexed

Kafka: A Guide for the Perplexed

By Clayton Koelb

“'This is a marvellous book, presenting Franz Kafka's life in vivid detail [as much detail as has emerged] and integrating readings of his texts with this living dynamic. Koelb contends that Kafka offers us a "warehouse of writing", with no one kind of text fully autonomous: the fiction, the diaries, the letters, the office writings . . . Kafka himself was of course a convinced modernist -- "I am nothing but literature", he wrote in his diary -- and we have inherited that conviction from his friend and editor, Max Brod. But there is so much to be gained from a post-modernist weaving of fiction into life. Even as he deftly annotates some of the famous stories and never-completed novels, Koelb is happy to leave macro-thinking to new and excited readers. Only if they are Perplexed is he offering a Guide. And yet: no one should miss the inspired single-page analysis of "A Country Doctor."”—Professor James Rolleston, Duke University, USA,

Franz Kafka is one of the most widely taught, and read, writers in world literature. Readers encountering texts like "The Metamorphosis" and The Trial for the first time are frequently perplexed by his often intentionally weird writing. Some might say that Kafka's enduring achievement has been to make his readers love being perplexed. As much of Kafka's writing is designed to perplex the reader, this guide helps the reader understand why and how perplexity has been deliberately created by Kafka's text and to realize what the uses of such perplexity might be. The book guides readers through their first encounters with Kafka and introduces the problems involved in reading his texts, the nature of his texts from the key novels and novellas to letters and professional writings, his life as a writer and different approaches to reading Kafka.

192 pages
Continuum, 2010
5.7 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
ISBN 9780826495808
Literary Criticism

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