Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kafkaesque: An exploration

As I recounted a recent conversation I'd had, a trusted one told me it sounded "Kafkaesque". Now I have loosely known what the term means, but I don't feel comfortable using terms unless I know - very much - what they're about. That's all a part of being a smartass, if it seems like I have an answer for everything it's because I know what I'm talking about or I wouldn't be engaged in the conversation.

So I thought we could explore "Kafkaesque" together.

Step 1: Dictionary

Kaf·ka·esque [kahf-kuh-esk]
1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or resembling the literary work of Franz Kafka: the Kafkaesque terror of the endless interrogations.
2. marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity: Kafkaesque bureaucracies.
1945–50 Kafka + -esque

ok then, that helps

Step 2: Wiki
Franz Kafka was Czech, and wrote a lot through the paranoia of pre WW1 Europe.
Kafka's writing has inspired the term "Kafkaesque", used to describe concepts and situations reminiscent of his work, particularly Der Process and "Die Verwandlung". Examples include instances in which people are overpowered by bureaucracies, often in a surreal, nightmarish milieu which evokes feelings of senselessness, disorientation, and helplessness. Characters in a Kafkaesque setting often lack a clear course of action to escape the situation. Kafkaesque elements often appear in existential works, but the term has transcended the literary realm to apply to real-life occurrences and situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, or illogical.

Step 3: Chat to a trusted one
This trusted one has read some of the works and told me it's about lack of transparency, control and personal disempowerment in the face of a behemoth bureaucracy. Suggested two books which he said were short and probably available electronically.

Step 4: Read something
So I'll read "The trial" about where a guy wakes up and finds he is being arrested.

I'll try to keep you up with it. If I manage to keep myself up with it. I'll blog you if I find anything interesting.

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