Kafka and His Contexts (COLIT-UA 9136)

The course is focused on exploring Franz Kafka’s work – stories, novels, diaries and letters – in the context of fin de siècle Prague and the birth of modernism. We will take a closer look at the cultural and social context of Central Europe (literature and the arts, but also the Modernist architecture of Adolf Loos, Simmel’s sociology of the metropolitan life, Freud’s analysis of the unconscious, Brentano’s psychology, the resonance of Nietzsche’s philosophy, or the emergence of new media like phonograph and silent film) in the first two decades of the 20th century. In addition, we will discuss the adaptations of Kafka’s work and its impact on later art, fiction and film (Borges, Welles, Kundera, Roth, Švankmajer). The topics discussed through Kafka’s writings and other related works include: man and metropolis, family, estrangement, authorship, time, writing and media, travelling, territories and identities, languages, animals, art and pain. We will be especially interested in how these phenomena transform when represented in and through the medium of literary fiction.

Comparative Literature (Undergraduate)
4 credits – 14 Weeks

Sections (Fall 2024)

COLIT-UA 9136-000 (2530)
at NYU Prague (Global)
Instructed by