Franz Kafka (Günther Anders) pdf, epub, doc

Is it wise to admire Kafka's work? Critics acclaim the 'classic' mastery of his prose, and even in English translation many readers have sensed its compelling fascination: but do they really know to what condition of life their admiration may implicitly give assent, or what state of mind exerts this fascination?
When literature is accepted as a means of education, and by some is felt to be the only possible higher exercise of the spirit in contemporary society, should we not ask what precisely it is to which a writer may be committing and accustoming us through the magic of his art? Before surrendering to the 'religious' symbolism of Kafka's writing, ought we not to be clear about the actual substance of his religion?
These are the questions Günther Anders raises; and in his brilliantly argued answers he gives the lie to those who claim for literary values an aesthetic immunity from such scrutiny, as well as to those who are ready to discover in Kafka all manner of mysterious significance. Günther Anders, one of Germany's most forthright and challenging thinkers, is not concerned with mere elucidation of Kafka's elusive and distorted meanings. He examines rather the larger and fundamental question: what it means for meaning to have taken on so strange an appearance. Not the puzzling detail, but the reason for the puzzle, is his subject; and to warn us against the perils of being too blindly intrigued – this is his urgent task.

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Translators' Note: Readers who are familiar with this work in German will know that its effectiveness as a challenge to previous interpretations of Kafka derived in part from the strikingly original style in which it was written: lucid, compact, full of linguistic wit and argumentative passion.Disappointingly, it proved impossible to translate accurately into English.There were many passages where a faithful rendering would either have introduced false and confusing overtones, or else have preserved no more than a feeble echo of Anders's idiom.The only solution was to try and think out the author's ideas again in English in the hope of arriving at a consistent style.This has necessitated as much adaptation as translation, and the translators would like therefore both to acknowledge gratefully the generous permission they have received to take liberties with the German text, and to make clear that they are now responsible for any inadequacies of expression which may have come about through their efforts at re-phrasing Günther Anders's meaning.

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