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Modernism and MelancholiaWriting as Countermourning$
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Sanja Bahun

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977956.001.0001

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“Schloßgeschichten Werden Erzählt?”

“Schloßgeschichten Werden Erzählt?”

Franz Kafka and the Empty Depth of Modernity

Chapter:
(p.111) 3 “Schloßgeschichten Werden Erzählt?”
Source:
Modernism and Melancholia
Author(s):

Sanja Bahun

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977956.003.0004

This chapter offers a reassessment of Franz Kafka’s 1922 novel The Castle. The novel, Kafka’s “countermonument,” is interpreted in the context of the modernist revaluation of home as absence, the writer’s own melancholic reframing of the notion of historical engagement, and his effort to “symptomize” fictional expression. The chapter first covers a string of historical and intertextual vicissitudes of Kafka’s Castle, ranging from the writer’s close engagement with Božena Němcová’s novel The Grandmother to the contemporaneous revamping of the Prague Castle area, and then proceeds to engage with Kafka’s linguistic and narrative strategies, including the figuration of the novel’s chronotope as the symbolic space “in between the two deaths” and linguistic mimicry of the melancholic structure of experience. These are interpreted as a conscious deployment of the melancholic symptom, with distinct aesthetic and political repercussions.

Keywords:   franz kafka, the castle, home, chronotope, semantics, melancholia, czech culture

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