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Document Details :

Title: De hongerkunstenaar
Subtitle: Over Kafka en de mens als een verhalend wezen
Author(s): DE VLEESCHOUWER, Gregory
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 73    Issue: 4   Date: 2011   
Pages: 623-646
DOI: 10.2143/TVF.73.4.2144958

Abstract :
Kafka wanted to metamorphose into his writing in order to become one with it. This article explains why this aim is — as Kafka knew very well — impossible. The artist-stories of the bundle A Starvation Artist and the stories Investigations of a Dog and The Bridge are revealing in this aspect: in dealing with the impossibility of art, they all point to the tense relation between the artist and his or her audience. To study this in greater depth, I elaborate on some research into self-consciousness. I mainly show that the fact that human beings belong not only to nature but also to culture should be connected to the peculiar way we relate to our bodies: we not only are our bodies, but also have our bodies. The having of our bodies comes together with a social aspect that is fundamental to the working of our self-consciousness: it opens up the door towards culture. In linking this aspect of our self-consciousness back to Kafka’s work, we are able to shed some new light on the nature of fiction, narrativity and, of course, the work of Kafka itself. I demonstrate how art always carries its very impossibility in itself: its power of evocation and its impotence go hand in hand.

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