the trial and error: happily ever thereafter

No happily ever after. Franz Kafka. He was mostly about failure. Or the inability to avoid it. Most everything was unfathomable, incomprehensive, unknowable, and there were no happy endings.Buggy and as neurotic as they come, Kafka represents that grey zone, that shadowland at the flexible and elastic boundaries that mark the human condition and the individual response to it. Shadows that hound individuals like Kafka from the start, a darkness that runs counter to the perceived secular humanist need in which guilt seems to be the punishment of choice for daring, which for Kafka, may have been a worse crime than  blood or race.

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The appeal of Kafka, and the basis of his identification was his suffering and failure. You can’t have a symbol that collected expensive porn and frequented brothels have an equally enduring appeal as a phantom-like repository of historical meaning and omnipresent insinuation share the dais with the insertion of the sexually absorbed into such lofty contexts. However, it does indicate a certain cherishing of the human figure, a need for love, though stymied, that refuses to yield to the sacrifice of spirituality. That was Kafka’s daring: to avoid the idealization of form by submerging himself into the experience of form.

Kafka adapted modernist means of writing, hints of Freud, Breton, Cubism, to the expression of archetypal feelings. These feelings are rooted in instinct, a certain sentimentality, even as they make one conscious of oneself: a sense to consciousness and selfhood that is spiritual in import. For Kafka, there was more to lose by abandoning the Jewish rooted conception, than to gain by becoming modernist.

---"Only our concept of time makes it possible for us to speak of the Day of Judgment by that: in reality it is a summary court in perpetual session" Amusement-park photograph from the Parter in Vienna. Left to right: Kafka, Albert Ehrenstein, Otto Pick, and Lise Kaznelson. These three were in Vienna for the Eleventh Zionist Congress when Kafka was there. --- Read More:

John Leonard on Primo Levi: …Those who did so, those who saw the Gorgon, have not returned to tell about it or have returned mute, but they are the ‘muslims,’ the submerged, the complete witnesses, the ones whose deposition would have a general significance. They are the rule, we are the exception.” He seemed almost to relish the sleazy story of Chaim Rumkowski, “king of the Jews” of Lodz, who collaborated himself all the way to the gas chamber: Like Rumkowksi, we too are so dazzled by power and prestige as to forget our essential fragility…. Forgetting that we are all in the ghetto, that the ghetto is walled in, that outside the ghetto reign the lords of
death, and that close by the train is waiting.  ….

---"The hunting dogs are playing in the courtyard, but the hare will not escape them, no matter how fast it may be flying already through the woods." --- “The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other,”.... Read More:


Kafka’s squeamish distaste for all things ripe and physical, however, inhibited sex.Sexually, he apparently oscillated between an ascetic aversion to intercourse, which he phrased “the punishment for being together,” and an attraction to prostitutes, where together was not together.  Sex in Kafka’s writings is usually connected with dirt or guilt and seen as an attractive abomination; strong forces of attraction and repulsion.While we never find out exactly what Josef K. is guilty of in The Trial, all of the sex he’s having points to one of the main sources of guilt and shame in human society: sex.

---Even today, the pornography would be "on the top shelf", Dr Hawes said, noting that his American publisher did not want him to publish it at first. "These are not naughty postcards from the beach. They are undoubtedly porn, pure and simple. Some of it is quite dark, with animals committing fellatio and girl-on-girl action... It's quite unpleasant." "Academics have pretended it did not exist," Dr Hawes said. “The Kafka industry doesn’t want to know such things about its idol." ---Read More: image:

Both sex and criminality are aspects of human behavior that are associated with shame. But our shame concerning all matters sexual may be a more fundamental fact of being human than criminality, because sexuality is a quality we all share. If to be human is to be sexual, and to be sexual is to be guilty in the eyes of society, then according to this  social equation, we are all guilty without having done anything wrong. K.’s robust s

lity suggests that his unspecified crime may just be the simple fact of his being human.

Moreover, Franz K.’s Joseph K. is devoured as well by sexuality–by Elsa, the cabaret waitress, who receives visitors in bed; by Leni, the lawyer’s servant, who only sleeps with men who have been accused; by Fräulein Bürstner and the usher’s wife; by the half-naked mothers nursing babies in the Lower Court, the prostitute maids and prostitute custodians, and the little girls who molest him in the painter Titorelli’s garret, behind the red door–never even mind the mother he hasn’t seen for three years. Maybe that butcher’s knife wasn’t intended, after all, for his self-interrogating heart. Read More:

Tim Black:The real Kafka was not quite so chaste, however. Describing passing a bordello ‘like a lover passing his sweetheart’s house’, Kafka was far from an infrequent visitor to Prague’s brothels. On 19 August 1908, he wrote of his latest sexual transaction that she was ‘too old to still be melancholy, although she was hurt, if not surprised, that one is not so nice to a whore as to a girl in an affair. Since she didn’t console me, I didn’t console her.’ Then there’s the grot mags, or, rather, prepaid subscription-only journals The Amethyst, and it’s post-ban incarnation Opals. Read More:



His letters to his Czech translator, Milena Jesenska , reveal a man excited and tormented by a deeply erotic yet unattainable woman; the correspondence with his fiancée, Felice Bauer , shows his determination, and his failure, to achieve a state of balance in a relationship with a woman who was, intellectually, not a kindred spirit. His last and least-documented love affair was with Dora Diamant , with whom he spent the last year of his life. Read More:

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