- USD 11.99
Descripción de editorial
From the internationally acclaimed author of The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony comes one of the most significant books in recent years on a writer of perennial interest–a virtuoso interpretation of the work of Franz Kafka.
What are Kafka’s fictions about? Are they dreams? Allegories? Symbols? Countless answers have been offered, but the essential mystery remains intact. Setting out on his own exploration, Roberto Calasso enters the flow, the tortuous movement, the physiology of Kafka’s work to discover why K. and Josef K.–the protagonists of The Castle and The Trial–are so radically different from any other character in the history of the novel, and to determine who, in the end, is K. The culmination of Calasso’s lifelong fascination with Kafka’s work, K. is also an unprecedented consideration of the mystery of Kafka himself.
Calasso's study is a milestone not just in the ever burgeoning literature about Kafka, but in literature itself. This remarkably elegant essay gains its intellectual authority from Calasso's tone: he's amazingly well read, without being a factotum of any particular discipline. Elias Canetti remarked that Kafka was, as a writer "so utterly himself" that the critic "must, even at the risk of seeming slavish, adhere as closely as possible to his own statements." Calasso follows this advice. Among the insights into The Castle that make the first four chapters a must for interested readers of that work is the way in which Calasso sees K. as a continuation of Josef K, the hero of Kafka's earlier The Trial. "The Castle," Calasso claims, "is Josef K's bardo" ("the intermediate state" in the Tibetan Book of the Dead). Calasso is so intimate with the texts, including the diaries, short stories and The Trial, that his voice sometimes emerges uncannily from the texts themselves, as though he were one of those mysterious exegetes that Kafka loved to put in his stories. Particularly astute is Calasso's observation that the image of the assimilated Jew runs through the novels like a great latent anxiety dream, leading outward, to Kafka's prophetic sense of the insecurity of the Jews in Central Europe, and inward, to the household of Kafka's father. Kafka has had marvelous interpreters in the past, including Walter Benjamin, Canetti and Maurice Blanchot. Without exaggeration, Calasso (Literature and the Gods) belongs in this elevated company.