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Franz Kafka

Subversive Dreamer

Michael Löwy (author) Inez Hedges (Translated by)

ISBN: 9780472053094

Publication Date: Jul 2016

Format: Paperback

Also available as: Hardback  

Grapples with the critical and subversive dimension of Franz Kafka's writings, which is often hidden or masked by the fabulistic character of the work. Löwy's reading has generated controversy, because of its distance from the usual canon of literary criticism about the Prague writer, but the book has been well received in its original French edition.
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Franz Kafka, rêveur insoumis (Paris: Stock Editions, 2004) is an attempt to identify and properly contextualize the social critique in Kafka's biography and work that links father-son antagonisms, heterodox Jewish religious thinking, and anti-authoritarian/anarchist protest against the rising power of bureaucratic modernity.

The book proceeds chronologically, starting with biographical facts often neglected or denied relating to Kafka's relations with the Anarchist circles in Prague, followed by an analysis of the three great unfinished novels–Amerika, The Trial, and The Castle–as well as some of the most important short stories. Fragments, parables, correspondence, and the diaries are also used in order to better understand the major literary works.

Overall Löwy's book is an attempt to grapple with the critical and subversive dimension of Kafka's writings, which is often hidden or masked by the fabulistic character of the work. Löwy's reading has already generated controversy, because of its distance from the usual canon of literary criticism about the Prague writer, but the book has been well received in its original French edition and has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, and Turkish. The chapter on The Castle was published in English by the UNESCO journal Diogenes (no. 204, December 2003).

Reviews

"This reading of Kafka–so thorough, consistent, and inspired–can surprise, but it convinces; not by the aggressive assertion of a thesis, but by the quality of information, the rigor and finesse of listening; in short, by knowledge."–Guy Petitdemange, Etudes, July 2004
Illustrations 17 figures
Pages 160
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Jul 2016
Publisher University of Michigan Press
Series Michigan Studies in Comparative Jewish Cultures
Subject/s Literature: history & criticism   Jewish studies   Biography & True Stories  
Michael Löwy is Emeritus Research Director in Social Sciences at the CNRS (French National Center of Scientific Research) and lectures at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS; Paris, France).

Inez Hedges is Professor of French, German, and Cinema Studies at the College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Northeastern University, Boston, USA.

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