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Kafka’s Other Prague: Writings from the Czechoslovak Republic (Paperback)

Kafka’s Other Prague: Writings from the Czechoslovak Republic Cover Image
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Kafka’s Other Prague: Writings from the Czechoslovak Republic examines Kafka’s late writings from the perspective of the author’s changing relationship with Czech language, culture, and literature—the least understood facet of his meticulously researched life and work.
Franz Kafka was born in Prague, a bilingual city in the Habsburg Empire. He died a citizen of Czechoslovakia. Yet Kafka was not Czech in any way he himself would have understood. He could speak Czech, but, like many Prague Jews, he was raised and educated and wrote in German. Kafka critics to date have had little to say about the majority language of his native city or its “minor literature,” as he referred to it in a 1913 journal entry. Kafka’s Other Prague explains why Kafka’s later experience of Czech language and culture matters.
Bringing to light newly available archival material, Anne Jamison’s innovative study demonstrates how Czechoslovakia’s founding and Kafka’s own dramatic political, professional, and personal upheavals altered his relationship to this “other Prague.” It destabilized Kafka’s understanding of nationality, language, gender, and sex—and how all these issues related to his own writing.
Kafka’s Other Prague juxtaposes Kafka’s German-language work with Czechoslovak Prague’s language politics, intellectual currents, and print culture—including the influence of his lover and translator, the journalist Milena Jesenská—and shows how this changed cultural and linguistic landscape transformed one of the great literary minds of the last century.

About the Author

ANNE JAMISON is an associate professor of English at the University of Utah.

Praise For…

“This book fills an important gap in Kafka scholarship by focusing on the Czech influence in his work. It is a significant contribution to the study of Kafka, modernism, and Central Europe; furthermore, it is an enjoyable and insightful read.” ?—Charles Sabatos, translator of Pavel Vilikovský’s Ever Green Is . . . Selected Prose

"Anne Jamison has written a masterful study of the interplay of Czech and German in Kafka's political, social and cultural worlds. Long the blind spot of mainstream Kafka research, the question of the dominant language and culture in Kafka's Other Prague receives illuminating treatment in Jamison's study. Most of Kafka's major interpreters have not known Czech at all or well enough to assess its importance for Kafka's writing, a problem compounded by the lack of access to Czech archival material during the postwar Communist period. Jamison combines astute close readings of Kafka's literary and personal writings with detailed knowledge of the Czech language, society and culture. The result is a mesmerizing portrait that shows us how close textual reading brings us closer to, not farther from, Kafka's social and political worlds. An instant classic." —Mark Anderson, author of Kafka’s Clothes: Ornament and Aestheticism in the Habsburg Fin de Siècle

"The myriad connections that Kafka's Other Prague draws between Kafka's 'world and his writings' not only provide fertile ground for future studies on language, identity, and territory in Kafka, they also provide a valuable resource for those teaching semester-length courses on Kafka." —Anna Alber, German Studies Review
Product Details
ISBN: 9780810137202
ISBN-10: 0810137208
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication Date: June 15th, 2018
Pages: 208
Language: English