Excavating Kafka

Excavating Kafka

3.46 (175 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$19.36

Currently unavailable

We can notify you when this item is back in stock

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


Kafka's features, and that dreaded word, Kafkaesque, are known to millions who have never read serious literature. Generations of academics and critics have maintained the image of Franz Kafka as a tortured seer whose works defy interpretation. In Excavating Kafka James Hawes reveals the truth that lies beneath the image of a middle-European Nostradamus with a typographically irresistible name. The real Franz Kafka was no angst-ridden paranoid but a well-groomed young man-about-town who frequented brothels, had regular sex with a penniless-but-pretty girl and subscribed to upmarket pornography (published by the very man who published Kafka's first stories). Excavating Kafka debunks a number of key facets of the Kafka-Myth, including the idea that Kafka was the archetypal genius neglected in his lifetime; that he was stuck in a dead-end job and struggling to find time to write; that he was tormented by fear of sex; that he had a uniquely terrible, domineering father who had no understanding of his son's needs; that his literature is mysterious and opaque; that he constructs fantasy-worlds in which innocent everymen live in fear of mysterious and totalitarian powers-that-be.
Written with the panache of a supremely gifted comic writer, Excavating Kafka is an engaging and involving reassessment of a major figure of literary modernism that will be welcomed and enjoyed by students of Kafka and by general readers alike.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 135 x 216 x 27mm | 353g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1847245447
  • 9781847245441
  • 1,425,478

Review quote

James Hawes has matured into a wonderful satirist...a comic novelist of considerable stature - Guardian Comparisons with Evelyn Waugh are not misplaced - Sunday Telegraph Highly entertaining galloping, lucid prose. There's real enthusiasm here too a witty anti-biography - Observer Undeniably an exhilarating read. The heresy helps but so does Hawes's pacy, non-academic prose and his sharp eye for fascinating snippets of literary history - Daily Telegraph A revelation and a scream, this wonderfully irreverent book ends up paying Kafka a greater compliment than that of the 'Kafka-myth', 5 stars - The Scotsman combination of zeal and cynicism is irresistible - Daily Telegraph.
show more

About James Hawes

As an Oxford undergraduate James Hawes saw and handled the original manuscript of The Castle. After taking a PhD on Nietzsche and Kafka, he held university lecture-ships at Maynooth, Sheffield and Swansea. He is the author of five novels, including A White Merc with Fins and White Powder, Green Light. His most recent novel, Speak For England (2005), was widely and enthusiastically reviewed. The BBC has commissioned Andrew Davies to re-work the novel for TV.
show more

Rating details

175 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 18% (32)
4 35% (61)
3 29% (50)
2 11% (20)
1 7% (12)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X