A collection of essays on Franz Kafka by the foremost scholar of Kafka. Franz Kafka (1883-1924) has come to be one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. Born into a Jewish middle-class family in Prague, Bohemia, Kafka was in many ways a solitary figure, isolated in his own mind from any true community of friendship and alienated from his own Jewish heritage. Kafka's writings reflect his inner turmoil, and his vels became a symbol of the anxiety and alienation that pervaded much of twentieth-century society. The Myth of Power and the Self brings together Walter Sokel's most significant essays on Kafka written over a period of thirty-one years, 1966-1997. This volume begins with a discussion of Sokel's 1966 pamphlet on Kafka and a summary of his 1964 book, Tragik und Ironie (Tragedy and Irony), which has never been translated into English, and includes several essays published in English for the first time. Sokel places Kafka's writings in a very large cultural context by fusing Freudian and Expressionist perspectives and incorporating more theoretical approaches - linguistic theory, Gsticism, and aspects of Derrida - into his synthesis. This superb collection of essays by one of the most qualified Kafka scholars today will bring new understanding to Kafka's work and will be of interest to literary critics, intellectual historians, and students and scholars of German literature and Kafka.
Walter H. Sokel is Commonwealth Emeritus Professor of German and English at the University of Virginia. He is the author of The Writer in Extremis: Expressionism in Twentieth-Century German Literature (Stanford University Press, 1959), Franz Kafka: Tragik und Ironie (Langen-Muller, 1964), Franz Kafka: Columbia Essays on Modern Writers (Columbia University Press, 1966), and Prelude to the Absurd: An Anthology of German Expressionist Drama (Doubleday/Anchor Books, 1963).
Walter H. Sokel
Wayne State University Press
Date of Publication
English, Multiple languages
Kritik: German Literary Theory and Cultural Studies Series