Request for interpretation of one episode in The Trial - In one chapter K is going to visit the official court painter. As he goes up the steps of the building where the painter lives, he is accosted by a band of girls 13 or so years old. K describes them as "already degenerate" and they seem to want to have sex with him. They are aggressive, the most so has a hunchback. How do symbolic readings of Kafka see this?
The schedule and guidelines for participation are on the event webpage. Just reading the posts of all the other participants is tremendously informative. There is an interesting contest or two and some prizes to be won. One of the tasks participants are charged with is reading a work first published in 2014 and this collection qualifies.
I am very happy to be once again participating in German Literature Month, hosted by Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy of Lizzy's Literary Life. Events like this are one of the great things about being part of the international book blog community. I know there is a lot of work that goes into a month long event and I offer my thanks to Lizzy and Caroline
Works I have so far read for German Literature Month 2014
1. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
2. Gertrude by Hermann Hesse
3. "Diary of a School Boy" by Robert Walser (no post)
4. Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse
5. Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig
6. Life Goes On by Hans Keilson
7. Comedy in a Minor Key by Hans Keilson
8. "The Wall" by Jurek Becker
9. "Romeo" by Jurek Becker
10. "The Invisible City" by Jurek Becker.
11. Wittgenstein's Nephew by Thomas Bernhard
12. "Dostoevsky's Idiot" by Robert Walser
13. "French Newspapers" by Robert Wasler
14. Jakob the Lier by Jurek Becker
15. The Trial by Franz Kafka
The Trial by Franz Kafka (1883 to 1924) is uncontroversiallly one of the most influential literary works of the 20th century. No German language writer after him has had anywhere near the influence of Kafka. Since I began blogging I have read his most famous short fiction, I think my favorite is "The Penal Colony", but this is my first reading of one of his two novels. Both were incomplete but the story line in The Trial is brought to a conclusion.
As I read on in The Trial I was on high alert, trying to understand what I knew was a key, almost holy literry text, looking peer into the depths of the work. At every turn I asked myself what does that mean? I knew parts of the symbological heritage comes from medieval Jewish tradition and Eastern European literature but it is a very original book. Of course it is read and mentioned in classes throughout the world (by pedagogical professionals who most likely have not read it) as a commentary on the absurdities of modern life. Anyone trying to deal with a government office in The Philippines will directly relate to the endless labyrinth of lines and procedures combined with a hidden from view power structure that can solve all your problems in an instant if only you know or bribe the right people.
The Trial was funnier than I thought it would be, it has strong comic elements. There are strange at times sexual elements in the plot. K, for example, has a long standing date with a hooker every week. And then once again, what are those young teenage girls doing in the hallway? Why is the man in the closet who is going to whip the first two policemen who arrested K dressed like a stereotype figure in a gay bar costume party? There is almost a lesbian scene, maybe. Plus I liked a lot the office politics in the sections set at the big Prague bank where K has an important job. The court room scenes are beyond brilliance.
With Ulysses, Proust and "The Waste Land", The Trial is a central text. It is also a lot of fun to read. Don't be nervous about or scared to read this book.
I hope to reread this in 2015 as well as read initially The Castle. There is also an edition of The Complete Short Stories of Franz Kafka that has been on my Amazon wish list for a longtime.