Kafka and his Readers
November 4, 2013 3:30-6:10pm
19 University Place, 1st Floor Great Room
Prof. Vivian Liska
Franz Kafka is one of the foremost modernist authors in and beyond the German speaking world. Following a brief introduction based on a poem by the young Kafka, this workshop will center on a selection of shorter texts to be discussed in depth. Each of these will focus on a different aspect of the connection between Kafka and reading. A discussion of “Conversation with the Supplicant” will shed light on the story’s implicit construction of an imaginary reader. An analysis of Kafka’s “other Abraham,” invoked in a few paragraphs inserted in a letter to Robert Klopstock, will illuminate Kafka as a subversive reader of the Bible. Finally, a short poem by Paul Celan, “Sprüchlein-Deutsch,” will reveal an unexpected reading of Kafka’s life, writing, and relationship to language as seen by one of the greatest poets of the second half of the twentieth century.
Vivian Liska is Senior Professor of German literature and Director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp, Belgium as well as Distinguished Visiting Professor of German at Hebrew University, Jerusalem from 2014-2017. She is editor of the comparative literature journal arcadia and of the Yearbook of the Society for European-Jewish literature. Her most recent books are Giorgio Agamben’s Empty Messianism and Fremde Gemeinschaft. Deutsch-jüdische Literatur der Moderne .