The 3rd of July of 1883 something happened. Something strange, weird and bizarre, something beautiful into the ugliness. In Prague, one little Jew child was born. This child would become in one of the most representative writers in the History of Literature. His name was Franz Kafka.
In some pint of view, Kafka’s metamorphosis changed the Literature. This absurdist fiction is the first that introduces the reader in the unconscious of writing about the Humankind. Yes, we all know it: a man who becomes into something strange, something bizarre. An insect? Maybe, but we discover with Gregor Samsa a new dimension in this absurd world… the man goes into madness and the man goes into the deepest mind labyrinth. Samsa becomes a new type of hero in literature and marks some tendencies in the XX century… absurd theatre, Ionesco… even the great Joyce drinks Kafka’s cups of wisdom and delirious.
Just with the Metamorphosis Kafka has his name among the greatest authors in the History of Literature. But he has much more. His tales has very much influence in subsequent short storytellers. With his brilliant prose, he investigates into the minds, atmospheres, people and cultures, creating a particular new universe plenty of originality.
… And we are here now with his master piece The Trial! One century before A confederacy of Dunces, Kafka creates the most unbalanced metaphor of modern times…bureaucracy as an absurd and legal process as an absurd and, finally, life as an absurd. Joseph K. is the modern hero fighting with the future and past times. We can see the remaining Jew culture as the eccentric ballet between words of poetry and words of legality. How can they coexist? The paradox in The Trial is the fight between two worlds. Yes, the Bible is a book of miracles and wars and gods and people… but the Bible –the Hebrew Torah or the Pentateuch in non-Jew versions- is also a law book containing rights and commandments and a complete legal summary for life. Kafka takes all this Jew tradition and makes a ballade of the modern hero into the modern past times of culture. How can he win? It’s impossible and we know it since the first pages of the book but we cannot stop reading because we know that the book is going on far away from the meaning of its words. We understand Joseph K. and we understand his process because we are living his process in our minds every time: in a city or a town or in the deepest point of the ocean where someone is reading the book again.
I have one final recommendation for you. If you have not still read Kafka’s diaries, please take a look on them. And if you want to know more, there are many good biographies that will show you a very human Kafka, Kafka who loves to laugh and Kafka who works every night with the passion of a true writer and the final tragic destiny of a genius.
Now, in this speculative absurd world, Kafka is getting more and more actual, irreverent, passionate and true. Have a nice day, Franz Kafka, the undead!