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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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Kafka, the Afterlife, and Transmigration of Souls

Kafka, the Afterlife, and Transmigration of Souls

5 Kafka, the Afterlife, and Transmigration of Souls
The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka

June O. Leavitt

Oxford University Press

A belief in spiritual destiny and the existence of the soul runs through Kafka’s dream chronicles. Similarly, a thematic treatment of the soul and its transmigrations figures in some of his fiction. Two short stories Kafka wrote in 1917--“The Bucket Rider” and “The Hunter Gracchus” deal with after-life experiences. To better understand Kafka’s eschatological viewpoint which is a component of his mystical life, this chapter examines the symbols and motifs used in these two stories to portray the journey of the soul. However, Kafka’s representation of transmigration can also be understood in light of theories about post-death experiences and doctrines of reincarnation associated with certain esoteric traditions which were revived during the modern Spiritual Revival.

Keywords:   transmigration, Kafka, reincarnation, after-life, pre-existence of souls, platonism, life after death, cycle of birth and death, rebirth, wheel of life

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