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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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The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka

June O. Leavitt

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents two major implications that can be drawn from Kafka’s confession to Rudolph Steiner that he occasionally experienced states of clairvoyance while writing. First, Kafka’s prose necessarily contains indications of clairvoyant perception. Second of all, the fact that he deferred to Steiner’s explanation of clairvoyance suggests that Kafka was immersed in the occult discourse of his day, and this discourse would leave traces in his prose. Subsequently, this chapter aims to identify the indications of clairvoyant experience in Kafka’s prose while at the same time it draws attention to occult referents which may have shaped this experience. In addition to presenting definitions of “occult” “occultism” “mystic,” and “mysticism,” the chapter relates to trends in contemporary literary studies that are relevant to a discussion on the mystical life of Franz Kafka but have fallen short of elucidating the textuality of a clairvoyant writer.

Keywords:   clairvoyance, Kafka, Kafka’s stories, Rudolph Steiner, theosophy, mysticism, mystical state, mystical experience, occult, occultism, spiritualism

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