Kafka: In Light of the Accident (Hardback)
  • Kafka: In Light of the Accident (Hardback)
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Kafka: In Light of the Accident (Hardback)

(author)
£20.00
Hardback 264 Pages / Published: 14/12/2017
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By challenging many of the assumptions, misguided presuppositions and even legends that have surrounded the legacy and reception of Franz Kafka's work during the 20th century, Howard Caygill provides us with a radical new way of reading Kafka. Kafka: In the Light of the Accident advances a unique philosophical interpretation via the pivotal theme of the accident, understood both philosophically and in a broader cultural context, that includes the philosophical and sociological basis of accident insurance and the understanding of the concepts of chance and necessity. Caygill reveals how Kafka's reception was governed by a series of accidents - from the order of Max Brod's posthumous publication of the novels and the correction of `misprints', to many other posthumous editorial strategies. The focus on the accident casts light on the role of media in Kafka's work, particularly visual media and above all photography. By stressing the role of contingency in his authorship, Caygill also fundamentally questions the 20th century view of Kafka's work as `kafkaesque'. Instead of a narration of domination, Kafka: In the Light of the Accident argues that Kafka's work is best read as a narration of defiance, one which affirms (often comically) the role of error and contingency in historical struggle. Kafka's defiance is situated within early 20th century radical culture, with particular emphasis lent to the roles of radical Judaism, the European socialist and feminist movements, and the subaltern histories of the United States and China.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781472595423
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 429 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Kafka's writings include legal briefs displaying his expertise in accident insurance together with his fiction, in which accidents are an obsessive theme. With philosophical imagination and scrupulous erudition, Howard Caygill explores this connection to produce fascinating new perspectives on both genres. His conceptual armature makes possible an especially profound and original reading of Kafka's "In the Penal Colony." No reader of Caygill's Kafka will fail to be elated. -- Stanley Corngold, Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature, Princeton University, USA
Is this book a book? Is it a photograph rather? A film? Or a long parable? Exploring the very centre of Kafka's double life as an author and an insurance company employee, Caygill puts all genres at risk, thus engaging writing in a hazardous and splendid new metamorphosis. -- Catherine Malabou, Professor of Philosophy at The European Graduate School, Switzerland
No work on Kafka (or much else) I know of marries scholarly rigour so effortlessly to speculative risk. By placing at the centre of the corpus the accident, the question that links Kafka's unfamiliar daylight writing for the insurance industry to the night writing we know so well, Caygill discloses an unsuspected strain of defiance and unpredictability in a writer we've come to associate almost reflexively with the inexorable Law of the Father. The result is that impossible thing, a reading of Kafka as original as it is brilliant; you might want to insure yourself against falling off your chair. -- Josh Cohen, Professor of Modern Literary Theory, English and Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths University of London, UK
With a lucidity and scholarly depth that is characteristic of all his work, Howard Caygill offers what many might have thought impossible: an original interpretation of Kafka's work. Connecting together the day time writer of insurance reports with the night time writer of fictions, Caygill reveals how Kafka's work is pervaded by an uncanny encounter with the necessity of accidents. Kafka:in Light of the Accident is an exceptional work of both philosophy and criticism. It enables us to understand how radical a writer Kafka is, one whose true modernity we are only just beginning to discover. -- Jon Cook, Emeritus Professor, School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, University of East Anglia, UK

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