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Excavating Kafka

Excavating Kafka

Kafka’s features, and that dreaded word, Kafkaesque, are known to millions who have never read serious literature. Generations of academics and critics have maintained the image of Franz Kafka as a tortured seer whose works defy interpretation. In Excavating Kafka James Hawes reveals the truth that lies beneath the image of a middle-European Nostradamus with a typographically irresistible name. The real Franz Kafka was no angst-ridden paranoid but a well-groomed young man-about-town who frequented brothels, had regular sex with a penniless-but-pretty girl and subscribed to upmarket pornography (published by the very man who published Kafka’s first stories).

Excavating Kafka debunks a number of key facets of the Kafka-Myth, including the idea that Kafka was the archetypal genius neglected in his lifetime; that he was stuck in a dead-end job and struggling to find time to write; that he was tormented by fear of sex; that he had a uniquely terrible, domineering father who had no understanding of his son’s needs; that his literature is mysterious and opaque; that he constructs fantasy-worlds in which innocent everymen live in fear of mysterious and totalitarian powers-that-be.

Written with the panache of a supremely gifted comic writer, Excavating Kafka is an engaging and involving reassessment of a major figure of literary modernism that will be welcomed and enjoyed by students of Kafka and by general readers alike.

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Biography: General / Biography: Literary

On Sale: 4th February 2010

Price: £8.99

ISBN-13: 9781849161640


'Literary biography usually reduces the work to the peccadilloes of its author: Hawes' glorious piece of iconoclasm uses the same technique to save it'
'Hawes loves Kafka and his combination of zeal and cynicism is irresistible' Daily Telegraph. 'This wonderful book, a revelation and a scream... wonderfully irreverent' Scotsman.
'Superbly irreverent book debunks prevailing myths about the author... His flippant style is hugely entertaining, but he is also unwavering in his appreciation of Kafka' Guardian. 'This absolutely brilliant and utterly infuriating book has a simple purpose: to demolish a number of myths and misconceptions about the life and work of Franz Kafka... Hawes is one of the most audacious, obsessive and endlessly inventive critics of an author with whose work he is clearly and wonderfully obsessed' Ian Sansom in Guardian.
'Hawes's Kafka is a canny, funny, worldly man and the book's galloping prose is highly entertaining... witty anti-biography' Observer.
'Settle in to enjoy Hawes' galloping, lucid prose' Observer.
'A thorough demolition of the myths that surround one of the greatest writers in the German language' Times.
The Times