Sunday, May 22, 2005

The Trial finished.

The Trial by Franz Kafka is finished. The final two chapters, "In The Cathedral" and "End" were more uplifting and easier reading than all the chapters before them put together. "In The Cathedral" is worth teaching or linking to one lesson or other having to do with rational and imaginative responses to modernity and post-modernism.
In fact, I'd say that the human response to modernity is what The Trial is all about. I would love to go into a discussion of it here with quotations, but I'm not sure if this book is in the public domain. When I can answer that question, I'll try something with it. But I do know that a history, philosophy or literature class dealing with the 20th century that does not include a discussion of The Trial or at least "In The Cathedral" is anemic and limp.
And as for Franz Kafka, he was a very original human being who saw the monster of process, arbitrary power and bureaucracy bearing down on the human spirit and was trying to give his fellow creatures a way to cope with it, a road map beyond it. Not one of dogma, not one calling back to ancient ways, but one involving mental abilities we all have in the here and now.
So when you get a chance, please read Franz Kafka's The Trial.
There's a free e-text available, translated into English, at Project Gutenberg.

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