Weights and Measures. Precision. A commodity worth its weight in shekels. Better yet, take the talens of silver and gold. The trial he could not have foreseen. The scales of justice where his literary manuscripts, letters, diverse scribblings, and so on are an “asset” , a commercially viable cultural product. Who knows what they’ll find: laundry lists, self-help tips, recipes. But should the value of his collected works be determined by weight?
Indeed, Kafka’s work, the battle of the archived boxes, is another example of Freud’s conception of the uncanny as the familiar re-packaged to us in unfamiliar guise.Furthermore, in bearing witness, again, to his own torments, now posthumously, uncategorized, and pell-mell in cartons, Kafka manages to implicate us all in his and K’s fate, again in the post 9/11 world, embroiled in a concept of law in a new context, what Zizek calls the “repressed obscure underside” of law,” where religious/national aspirations of Jewish state law sees violence in the hands of Kafka’s inheritors as a danger undermining the Jewish state legal system and its own oppressive state monopoly on violence.
Joseph K operated on the assumption that his guilt belonged to him, now with the unknown contents of the Kafka cache, the State in its role of preserving violence attempts to guilt all Jews into the Kafka fiasco; like the Occupied Territories, this occupation of Kafka will drag on for a near eternity until ultimately confiscation, legally legitimized is enforced as some kind of national justice, like Eichmann’s trial, we get to relive tragedy a second time, with the State, a Jewish state, acting, ironically, for the salvation of the soul of Kafka the interpreter, who ironically, and in opposition to the Law, refuses to submit to reality and involve himself in the logic, usually tragic and fatalistic,of the business as usual,everything the same all the time ethos that is the self-preserving ethos, the dreary spirit that underpins the legal legitimation of state violence. Acts which ostensibly to preserve heritage, are the, in Benjamons “Leskov” a shutting down of the story-teller, the narrator who intrepidly as Benjamin says, ” penetrates the inner chambers of the realms of created things.”
…At the instant before an executioner’s knife is to be driven into the condemned man’s heart, there is a mysterious figure, who can be discerned at at a window in the top story of a house at the edge of the quarry, “The casement window flew open like a light flashing on; a human figure, faint and insubstantial at that distance and height, forced itself far out and stretched its arms out even further. Who was it? A friend? A good man? One who sympathised? One who wanted to help? Was it one person? Was it everybody?”…
The Law, is in fact that “everything continues as usual”, the reinforcement of the eternal “catastrophe,” that Walter Benjamin disclosed as the boundless dominance of the mythical. This in fact informed the basis of what can be termed the Kafka-like scenario, which determines the subject as depicted in Benjamin’s article “Franz Kafka.” Here, ingeniously, Original Sin is present at each moment in history, like Forest Gump with a suicide belt of explosives, and in the thesis of Benjamin, it is a reaction to the subject’s being a victim of cosmic injustice permanently and with legal justification, directed against him.
As is well known, Kafka left his published and unpublished work to Max Brod, along with the explicit instruction that the work should be destroyed on Kafka’s death. Indeed, Kafka had apparently already burned much of the work himself. Brod refused to honour the request, although he did not publish everything that was bequeathed to him. He published the novels The Trial, The Castle and Amerika between 1925 and 1927. In 1935, he published the collected works, but then put most of the rest away in suitcases, perhaps honouring Kafka’s wish not to have it published, but surely refusing the wish to have it destroyed. Brod’s compromise with himself turned out to be consequential, and in some ways we are now living out the consequences of the non-resolution of Kafka’s bequest….
…Brod fled Europe for Palestine in 1939, and though many of the manuscripts in his custody ended up at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, he held on to a substantial number of them until his death in 1968. It was to his secretary Esther Hoffe, with whom he appears to have had an amorous relationship, that Brod bequeathed the manuscripts, and she kept most of them until her own death in 2007 at the age of 101. For the most part Esther did as Max did, holding on to the various boxes, stashing them in vaults, but in 1988 she sold the manuscript of The Trial for $2 million, at which point it became clear that one could turn quite a profit from Kafka. What no one could have predicted, however, is that a trial would eventually take place after Esther’s death in which her daughters, Eva and Ruth, would claim that no one needs to inventory the materials and that the value of the manuscripts should be determined by their weight – quite literally, by what they weigh. As one of the attorneys representing Hoffe’s estate explained: ‘If we get an agreement, the material will be offered for sale as a single entity, in one package. It will be sold b
ight … They’ll say: “There’s a kilogram of papers here, the highest bidder will be able to approach and see what’s there.” The National Library [of Israel] can get in line and make an offer, too.’ Read More:http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n05/judith-butler/who-owns-kafkaa
Brod, a longtime Zionist, emigrated to Palestine in 1939, carrying the Kafka manuscripts with him. He later edited editions of Kafka’s diaries and letters, but refused to allow other scholars to have access to the manuscripts, or to place them in a library, museum or archive. However, as war loomed during the 1956 Suez Crisis, Brod sent the bulk of the manuscripts to safekeeping in a Swiss bank vault. After lengthy negotiations involving Brod, Kafka’s publisher Salman Schocken, Kafka’s niece and heir Marianne Steiner (daughter of Kafka’s sister Valerie), and literary scholar Malcolm Pasley, the manuscripts were transferred in 1961 to the Bodleian Library at Oxford.
However, Brod still retained the manuscript of Der Prozess (which Kafka had given him in 1920) and an unknown quantity of unpublished material. On his death in 1968 these manuscripts were bequeathed to his secretary (and, apparently, lover) Esther Hoffe. In 1988, she put the manuscript of Der Prozess up for auction at Sotheby’s, where it sold for $1.98 million. Herbert Tenschert, the West German book dealer who placed the winning bid on behalf of the Deutsche Literaturarchiv Marbach, was quoted after the auction as saying “This is perhaps the most important work in 20th-century German literature, and Germany had to have it.” Kafka would surely have appreciated the multiple ironies: not only was he not German, but this wasn’t the first time a German government had expressed keen interest in his work: the Nazis had seized 20 of his notebooks and a cache of letters from his lover Dora Diamant in Berlin in 1933, and probably burned them. Read More:http://exoticandirrational.blogspot.com/2011/03/who-owns-kafka.html
It is evident that there is something unexpected about Benjamin’s messianism. It is that the messianic in Benjamin is a figure of not simply redemption, but of redemption from salvation. Like that of Kafka’s, Benjamin’s messiah is the messiah who comes by not coming, who comes only when he is no longer necessary. Divine violence, that is, represents not the arrival of the divine on earth, but rather the earth’s abandonment by the divine. The transformation of the relation between human and animal that takes place in divine violence is the precise opposite of a rescue of the former from the latter; divine violence would not redeem the human from its animality as much as redeem it to its animality. What Benjamin seeks is not a passage from earthly oblivion into the Kingdom but rather an earthly redemption from the desire or need to enter the Kingdom in the first place. Read More:http://www.biopolitica.cl/docs/abbott_benjamin.pdf