Franz Kafka

Narration, Rhetoric, and Reading

Edited by Jakob Lothe, Beatrice Sandberg, and Ronald Speirs

Theory and Interpretation of Narrative


Literary Criticism/European/German
251 pp. 6x9

$29.95 paper 978-0-8142-5177-5
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The author recommends the following links:

Kafka Society of America

The Kafka Project

Oxford Kafka Research Centre


Franz Kafka: Narration, Rhetoric, and Reading is a remarkable collection of essays for a number of reasons. To begin with, one would be hard-pressed to find a more compelling group of scholars to focus their efforts on the writings of one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century. . . . Another reason the text proves quite valuable is the readily apparent direction of its editors. Jakob Lothe, Beatrice Sandberg, and [Ronald] Speirs have done well to make sure the text is united by a clear and coherent goal. . . . Lastly, and most laudable, this collection of essays illustrates what makes for great scholarship by creating a true conversation. Not only have the authors clearly read the rest of the contributions, but nearly all of them also freely cite from each other’s work. . . . [A]nyone interested in the dramatic turn narrative has taken in the last two hundred years will benefit from this collection and its efforts to locate Kafka’s contribution to modern literature.” —H-Judaic, H-Net Reviews

“a significant publication” —Modern Language Review

“The editors of this volume have brought together a group of internationally acclaimed specialists in cutting-edge narrative theory and eminent Kafka scholars from a number of countries. Franz Kafka offers a ground-breaking textual exegesis of often enigmatic texts and reveals the light that can be cast on interpretive problems by rigorous, state-of-the-art narrative theory. The book is a model of high calibre collaborative work undertaken by leading Kafka experts.” —John J. White, emeritus professor of German and comparative literature, King’s College London

Franz Kafka: Narration, Rhetoric, and Reading presents essays by noted Kafka critics and by leading narratologists who explore Kafka’s original and innovative uses of narrative throughout his career. Collectively, these essays by Stanley Corngold, Anniken Greve, Gerhard Kurz, Jakob Lothe, J. Hillis Miller, Gerhard Neumann, James Phelan, Beatrice Sandberg, Ronald Speirs, and Benno Wagner examine a number of provocative questions arising from Kafka’s narratives and method of narration. The arguments of the essays relate both to the peculiarities of Kafka’s story-telling and to general issues in narrative theory. They reflect, for example, the complexity of the issues surrounding the “somebody” doing the telling, the attitude of the narrator to what is told, the perceived purpose(s) of the telling, the implied or actual reader, the progression of events, and the progression of the telling. As the essays also demonstrate, Kafka’s narratives still present a considerable challenge to, as well as a great resource for, narrative theory and analysis.

Jakob Lothe is professor of English literature at the University of Oslo. Beatrice Sandberg is professor of German literature at the University of Bergen, Norway. Ronald Speirs is professor emeritus of German at the University of Birmingham, UK.