Introducing Kafka: A Graphic Guide
David Zane Mairowitz
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Franz Kafka wrote in the tradition of the great Yiddish storytellers, bringing to it a unique literary language of transformation and escapism. Alienated from his roots, his family and his own body, Kafka's fascinating existence is superbly illuminated in Introducing Kafka by the infamous underground comic artist Robert Crumb.
BEM'IHG 'tOGETH&R, HOURS INWRICH K.FE1THEWAS LOSING HIMStLF OR. WANDER1Nti INTO A S'I'RM6E COlJJTRY WK£R£ M> HUMAN BEING HAl> EVER GONE BER>Rf" A CX>UNTRY WHcgr; VERY AIR WAS SO DIPFERENT ~ HlS NATIVE AIR.TAA'J' ONE COULD SUFFOCATE IN In STAAKGENEss., AND VET so ENTICING THAT ONE COULD ONLY GO FuRTHER. AND"LOSE ONESELF IN n. This revelry is suddenly interrupted by " a deep, authoritative, impersonal voice from Klamm 's room," summoning Frieda. For K, this comes as a relief rather than a
to influence him strongly. Prague's " Westjuden" didn 't want to know from such overblown Schmalz (Jewish melodramatic sentimentality - literally " grease" or " fat"), a stark reminder of ghetto life, and mostly ignored the Yiddish actors. Kafka not only went to see them nearly every night , but began to study their traditions and take an interest in Yiddish as a language . And if he could see right through the chicken fat of their plots, he was nonetheless attracted to the fairy-tale aspect of
higher authority, "Keikeesque" has come to be associated with the faceless bureaucratic infrastructure which the highly efficient AustroHungarian Empire bequeathed the Western world. In any case, it is an adjective that takes on almost mythic proportions in our time, irrevocably tied to fantasies of doom and gloom, ignoring the intricate Jewish Joke that weaves itself through the bulk of Kafka's work. 5 Before ever becoming the ADJECTIVE, Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a Jew from Prague, born into
designer, the Officer quickly began removing his clothes . ... The Traveller knew what was going to happen , but felt he had no right to interfere in any way. The Officer climbed naked onto the "bed", and allowed himself to be strapped down by the condemned man and the soldier, even accept ing the stub of felt in his mouth. 82 a u t sam et " \'n g w ent wrong, ThE ACHIN O&VIOM eW GAATJUSLY DJS'NTRS FUNC KG ...I 't S SllS E'" Y N'lN'G W Ie.,'[,USTIIO AS AN O N " ,.IR OF WRl 'l'ING, STEIU>