University Press Copublishing Division / Lehigh University Press
Trim: 6 x 9
978-1-61146-146-6 • Paperback • August 2013 • $51.99 • (£40.00)
Mark E. Blum is professor of History at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
Chapter 1: Kafka's Social Discourse as an Aesthetic Search for Community
Chapter 2: Social Discourse and the Actualization of the Good
Chapter 3:Amerika as an Anatomy of Social Discourse
Chapter 4:The Trial as the Social Discourse of Self in a Community of Others
Chapter 5:The Castle and the Social Discourse of Community
Chapter 6 Chpater 6:The Castle as a Pastoral Narrative: "The Good," "The Beautiful," and the Human Community
In this complex study of Franz Kafka's (literary) social engagement, Blum (European intellectual history, Univ. of Louisville) takes on the Kafka critical establishment. Drawing from phenomenological discourse, the author counters prevailing notions about the intrinsic openness of Kafka's quixotic fiction. Rather than leading readers into paradox and interpretative aporia, Blum contends that Kafka was driven by a didactic idealism meant to 'hew a new path for self-critical human development' by imparting lesson[s] to his fellow authors whom he explicitly held accountable ... as cultural messengers. Blum promotes a kind of inverse reading: Kafka's world of anxiety, alienation, and absurdity transform into its opposite—utopic vision of the way things ought to be. Focusing on Kafka's three novels, the author tracks the development of Kafka's social discourse in relation to his complex, intertextual 'conversation with past and present authors.' His probing analysis of Kafka's 'iconic' repertoire results in evocative readings that provide invaluable insights into Kafka's rich allusive language. ... He sheds light on intriguing allusions buried in Kafka's multilayered prose. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.
— Choice Reviews