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Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (1915)

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1 Franz Kafka, Die Verwandlung (1915)

2 Franz Kafka ( )

3 Biography Born in Prague (Austro-Hungarian Monarchy)
Czech-Jewish origin German-speaking Czech Jew

4 Hermann Kafka, Julie Löwy

5 Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918)

6 Biography Studied Law (doctorate 1906) Worked in insurance
Wrote literary texts in spare time Literary circle in Prague (Max Brod, Felix Weltsch)

7 Biography Engaged several times Never married
Tuberculosis diagnosed, 1917 Death near Vienna, 1924

8 Kafka as writer Great name of literary modernism (Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf) Short stories, novellas, novels Experimental prose style (“personales Erzählen”)

9 Kafka as writer Tendency towards the fantastic / supernatural
Motif of metamorphosis: fairytale motif Human / animal theme Strangeness, alienation, grotesquerie

10 Kafka as writer Relatively unknown during his lifetime
Posthumous fame (Max Brod; American and English reception) “kafkaesque”

11 Themes Crisis of (masculine) identity in modernity
The passing of religion / tradition The search for meaning The body / sexuality

12 Themes Critique of capitalism Critique of bourgeois family
Critique of patriarchal power structures

13 Oedpius complex Power struggle between father and son
Das Urteil (1912) Die Verwandlung (1915) Brief an den Vater (1919)

14 Hermann Kafka ( )

15 Sigmund Freud: Oedipus complex
Desire for the parent of the opposite sex (son for mother) Universal developmental stage for all male children (ages 3-6) Successful resolution of complex results in identification with same-sex parent

16 Oedipus complex If unresolved – neurosis, “arrested development”
Fixation on the father Ongoing power struggle

17 Die Verwandlung Father / son (oedipal) struggle?
Father fixation? Mother fixation? Sister fixation? Son as eternal loser in the oedipal conflict?

18 Masochism Gregor as masochist?
Masochism as sign of the son’s defeat in oedipal conflict? Family – esp. sister – as sadists?

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