Sunday, August 23, 2015

“The crackle of electricity between them” – Göteborgs-Posten

Of Franz Kafka’s female relations is the journalist Milena Jesenská probably most interesting because it gives Kafka such a weighty cultural framework, writes Mikael van Reis parallelism read parts of Kafka’s collection of letters and a biography of Jesenska.

As in slow motion exploding bourgeois family in the modernist novel’s framework – that of a hundred years ago. The individual is pushed out of the bosom of the family, no longer as heir or potential hero, but rather fleeing and alienated in worlds where everything flows.

There are at least in my mind the picture and it is complemented by the father, or rather the father of the function becomes as kringränd of his literary critics at that time when psychoanalysis should penetrate through.

Fatherhood is not longer what it was, especially not with Franz Kafka, whose sons is beyond marriage counseling – as an amputated K. in Process or transformed into “Ungeziefer” (vermin, not explicitly beetle) in Transformation . There is no saving fatherly care, but from the alienation written at the same time the most sensitive and bouncy by Prosor. Matt Shining but dark, like and yet expressive in the stories as well as in the diaries and letters.

Kafka’s collected works is remarkable enough in Swedish translation for many years by Hans Blomqvist and Erik Agren. I see now how right the letters opens new doors to Kafka’s daily and nightly mazes. Now there is You hear each other better in the dark that contains letters from 1918-1920. This is the sixth letter volume which previously released translations revised.

Kafka gets here Crown witness in my mind about the sundered the family and the heavily falling father in the world of yesterday in which the family and the nation , The Church and the Armed Forces were magnitudes who marched their sons into the First World War trenches. Kafka’s Letter to Father is such a tremendous key text.

Franz wants to create family but fails, maybe he wanted to fail. He tries many years with Felice Bauer, but pedaling purposefully wrong, he tries with fancy Julie Wohryzek, but Dad Hermann found her overly powdered. Tuberculosis to the encounter with pulmonary haemorrhage 1917th

He gets three years later a contact with the highly energetic and audacious journalist Milena Jesenská (then unhappily married Pollak) that translates him to the Czech Republic in 1920. Between them (1920-1923) unfolds a further attempt to married life that seems doomed to be killed altogether.

Of Kafka female relationship is with Milena probably most interesting because it gives Kafka such a weighty cultural framework. Between their similarities and differences, advocates of the electricity which Hans Blomqvist shows a biography of her: A living fire. Milena – a biography . In rhapsodic forward motion and with an almost dogged style gets Blomqvist much said about this whole era without losing itself under the burden of all sources. He can be secondary literature, and it gives perspective. Between the two wars are Jews, Czechs, Austrians in the Nations overhaul and the events giving especially Kafka and Jesenskás biographies a prickly figure.

Milena Jesenská born 1896 in Prague and grew up with a wealthy and authoritarian father who she constantly broke away from, while she was in many ways depended on his patrician in Prague. There is something indomitable of Milena person when she early revolts against the bourgeois code of conduct for women in the city. It takes economic, sexual, cultural … After having nursed the sick mother in seven years she breaks up. She consumes her father’s money and property of others, she is the closest kleptomaniac and begin abusing drugs – something that will persecute her with morbidity (already his father was a morphine addict).

Milena frequenting the famous cafes and seek with all diligence contact with the literary life. She lives thus early an enhanced and devastating life as a bohemian. The father is finally announce to the press that he no longer intends to pay her bills. Without father subsidies may Milena pull up as bread printer and journalist.

Often with large courage and growing poverty. Screenwriter Willy Haas said that the reckless Milena was made disaster. The world’s major concern made her calm. She becomes involved politically, convinced the Soviet Communist and soon enough antistalinist. But then, Franz’s death since 1924th

In these letters Milena revealed the industrious vegetarian Franz at the sanatorium in Merano – he’s awake, opinionated, funny, shyly charming but also self-destructive, cunning in their deceptions, or that easy self-pitying. Always quick in thought …

This is the writing that gives him peace. In a letter to Milena he records a small scene that reminds us that eight years earlier written Transformation. From the balcony lounger he sees a beetle fallen on back – “it was heartbroken and could not get to his feet.” It will be a spectacle of life and death, but when a nimble lizard ränner past will on the feet and can climb on in life.

It’s like a little allegory of Franz and Milena. He is the lung sufferer waiting for the end on his back in the recliner, but will at the feet of witty Milena: “In no way once I even got a little courage from this, got up, drank the milk, and wrote to you.” It was the Friday 19 May ninety-five years ago.

The correspondence becomes intense and the tone more intimate while Franz makes his way to each relations inevitable disaster zone (correspondence continues a few years). He wants to somehow lose everything better: “And you feel actually, Milena, I repeat. For me, it’s something tremendous happens, my world is falling apart, my world is rebuilt / — /. It falls apart is not something I regret, it was already about to collapse, but I regret that it is rebuilt, regret my call forces regret that I am born again, sorry that the sun shines. How should we live in the future? “.

In his lying position on the balcony is Franz as the one where the beetle, but misery is productive, he must be up and write it down! He must answer Milena’s letters. The sense of loss and discouragement altered in any way. Precisely this duality of the write Act I think is characteristic of Kafka.

However not the letters to Milena which is headlined by the new volume. For the essence of this letter volumes hear the translation of Kafka’s famous Brief an den Vater, very long with never dispatched the letter to his father Hermann Kafka (published in separate volumes in 2010, although earlier in the Swedish translation).

There is one letter – from November 1919 – a oöverbryggbart gap between father and son which the mutual alienation opens a lower space for writing that is already written. Nevertheless, the first question impertinent: “You ask why I’m afraid of you.” Franz has an answer: “as a father you were too strong for me.”

Kafka explains how father emotionally deaf, hot-tempered and authoritarian style has created Franz into a vessel of anxiety and weakness . His father was the “highest authority” and the measure of all: “You are sitting in your armchair and advised throughout the world.” The silence at the table was horrible and everything that did not come from his father’s mouth was rejected with derision and contempt.

This letter is a key to the great theme that I see running through this literature that shows how the 1800s Authorities in different ways kreperar and ashed. But the really interesting thing about the letter to his father, its length and intensity … and it never shipped. I think the answers contained in the letter: “for me as a child, every word you cried to me almost a commandment from heaven, I never forgot it, it became my most important tool for assessing the outside world, especially to assess yourself, and then it turned out that you do not really measure up. “

Franz Kafka’s letters is about his own weakness, but also how this weakness was turned into a writing power which was alien to his father’s life-world . Kafka proves the intellectual, psychological and linguistic far superior to the father. In his long letter he proves to be not only victims but also the judge and judge the father, but of care or indulgence dispatches he not judgment. Was it because he did not want to hurt him or fear?

Not at least where – in this Act, in that suspension – as the weakness shows its strength and renunciation seem based on a closest Testament ethics. Weak sake of strength against strength weakness. Kafka’s letter to his father becomes in this way a key to a world of canceled or delayed liberations – for Franz, for Milena.

Since it continues patriarchal world to show the growing strength devastating weakness. Kafka’s three sisters die in Nazi concentration camp (Chelmno, Auschwitz) and so does Milena in May 1944 in Ravensbrück – she had been arrested by the Gestapo for underground activities and deported. Her last letter to her daughter Honza is very moving.

Franz Kafka’s stories, letters and diaries have in my mind the prophetic dimension, not least in its review of the blind father of power in the past . What was it svartsynaren Karl Kraus called fin de siècle Austria-Hungary? An experimental station for world destruction.


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