Kafka on Books, Wallace on Kafka

“. . . the books we need are the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that make us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, or lost in a forest remote from all human habitation — a book should serve as the ax for the frozen seas within us.” <em>from a letter of Franz Kafka to Oskar Pollak</em> How very Kafka!  Months ago I had read “Laughing With Kafka” by the beyond brilliant David Foster Wallace.  It was long before I had read this quote of Kafka’s and did not know this was the quote which Wallace was analyzing.  I recognized this quote after reading it today and ran to get my journal and find the quotes from Wallace which I had written down.  Wallace writes, “Kafka spoke of literature as ‘a hatchet with which we chop at the frozen seas inside us.”  The “central Kafka joke” he explains is “that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle.  That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. . . .  We’ve been inside what we’ve  wanted all along.” Yes. Read the grotesque, nightmarish worlds of Kafka.  And find yourself.

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~ by ngrblogadmin on January 11, 2010.

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