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The Mystical Life of Franz KafkaTheosophy, Cabala, and the Modern Spiritual Revival$
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June O. Leavitt

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199827831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827831.001.0001

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Mystical Experience in Kafka’s 
Early Prose

Mystical Experience in Kafka’s 
Early Prose

2 Mystical Experience in Kafka’s 
Early Prose
The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka

June O. Leavitt

Oxford University Press

This chapter creates a classification of signs by which clairvoyant textuality can be evaluated. Subsequently, it examines Kafka’s writings for such signs. Certain diary entries are marked by the intrusion of a disembodied being which Kafka designates as “You.” The confusing dialogues which ensue suggest that Kafka’s clairvoyance may have caused apparitions. The dialogues also reflect occult ideology which granted existence to spiritual beings. The story “Unhappiness” is another example of the intrusion of a spiritual entity into a Kafka text. The struggle which takes place between the narrator and the spirit can be interpreted as dramatization of the conflict which Kafka described to Steiner. This chapter also argues that the story “Description of a Struggle,” dramatizes an out-of-body experience which a clairvoyant might have had. The story may also be an attempt at artistic representation of theories espoused by psychical researchers and occult ideologues during Kafka’s lifetime.

Keywords:   Kafka, diaries, ghosts, out-of-body experience, mantras, mystical experience, clairvoyance, paranormal, spirits, spiritualism

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