Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kafkaesque, as they say

Amerika
By Franz Kafka

In the high tables of the intellectual world, being Kafkaesque can be a double-edged sword: while certainly it is difficult to write in that peculiar style perfected (?) by Kafka himself, and to imagine such a bizarre world without blinking an eye, it would be an overstatement to say that it was somehow good (whatever that means) literature. In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand suggested that a good writer of fiction is deliberate and meticulous. Kafka's Amerika betrays neither of those qualities - indeed, if the intention was to write a novel that would be 'good' today, it would fail badly. To be fair of course, he didn't really want to publish this work (as we are told in the preface), but I am told that this is a mere sampling of a trend.

Intent is the key here, really. I suppose if the intent was to present this very style, then yes, there was both deliberation and a meticulous dedication to meeting the end goals, even if a few details were left out in between (Oklahama?). Perhaps that's why Kafka has generated so much chatter. If only we could travel back in time and see how he wrote his work in Prague - or maybe we can check if he had a supply of weed?

No comments: