Sunday, December 18, 2005

From behind 1.81

[...] when in 1993 someone threw a stone into the glass house of Kafka studies and caused some confusion. It was launched by Milan Kundera, the novelist who wrote in Czech and then, after his emigration, in French, and who had the chutzpah to claim he could have written The Trial and The Castle if Kafka had not happened to get there first. In 1993, the philological outsider Kundera published an extended essay with Gallimard, Les Testaments trahis, which was translated into German the next year and started a new trial against Brod [...] This trial, however, would satisfy no procedural rules; rather, in it Kundera totally confuses the roles of prosecution and defense and never accedes to that of the judge, a position which he nevertheless claims. One could call it Kundera's Kafkaesque trial against Brod, were it not such a corny joke. [...] Kundera charges him with unforgivable indiscretions, with treason against Kafka, for having published "even that long, painful letter found in a drawer, the letter Kafka never decided to send to his father and that, thanks to Brod, anyone but its addressee could eventually read...He betrayed his friend. He acted against his friend's wishes, against the meaning and the spirit of his wishes, against the sense of shame he knew in the man." It goes without saying that Kundera cannot sustain this accusation.
Rolf Tiedemann, "Kafka Studies, The Culture Industry,
And the Concept of Shame: Improper Remarks between
Moral Philosophy and Philosophy of History" in
Cultural Critique
60 (2005): 247-48.


Post a Comment

<< Home