Elípticas sobre ‘El Proceso’ de Kafka


Kafka’s The


Espen Hammer (ed.)

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, 312 pp.

ISBN: 9780190461447

Kafka’s novel The Trial, written
from 1914 to 1915 and published in 1925, is a multi-faceted, notoriously
difficult manifestation of European literary modernism, and one of the most
emblematic books of the 20th Century. It tells the story of Josef K., a man
accused of a crime he has no recollection of committing and whose nature is
never revealed to him. The novel is often interpreted theologically as an
expression of radical nihilism and a world abandoned by God. It is also read as
a parable of the cold, inhumane rationality of modern bureaucratization. Like
many other novels of this turbulent period, it offers a tragic quest-narrative
in which the hero searches for truth and clarity (whether about himself, or the
anonymous system he is facing), only to fall into greater and greater

This collection of nine new essays and an editor’s introduction brings
together Kafka experts, intellectual historians, literary scholars, and
philosophers in order to explore the novel’s philosophical and theological
significance. Authors pursue the novel’s central concerns of justice, law,
resistance, ethics, alienation, and subjectivity. Few novels display human
uncertainty and skepticism in the face of rapid modernization, or the
metaphysical as it intersects with the most mundane aspects of everyday life,
more insistently than The Trial.

Ultimately, the essays in this collection focus on how Kafka’s text is in
fact philosophical in the ways in which it achieves its literary aims. Rather
than considering ideas as externally related to the text, the text is
considered philosophical at the very level of literary form and technique.


Introduction Espen Hammer

1. Kafka’s Inverse Theology. Peter E. Gordon

2. Before the Law Fred Rush

3. On the Ethical Character of Literature. John Gibson

4. A Disease of All Signification: Kafka’s The
Between Adorno and Agamben. Gerhard Richter

5. Unfettering the Future: Estrangement and Ambiguity in The Trial. Iain Macdonald

6. The Trouble with Time: Kafka’s Der
. Anne Fuchs

7. Judges, Heathscapes, and Hazardous Quarries: Kafka and the Repetitive
Image-Series. Howard Caygill

8. Kafka’s Modernism: Intelligibility and Voice in The Trial. Espen Hammer

9. Displacements on a Pathless Terrain: On Reading Kafka’s Der Proceß. Elizabeth S. Goodstein


Anne Fuchs (Professor
and Director of the Humanities Institute at University College Dublin)

John Gibson (Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Commonwealth Center
for Humanities at the University of Louisville)

Fred Rush (Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame)

Elizabeth Goodstein (Professor of English and the Liberal Arts at Emory

Peter E. Gordon (Amabel B. James Professor of History at Harvard University)

Iain Macdonald (Professor of Philosophy at the Université de Montréal)

Gerhard Richter (Professor of philosophy at Brown University)

Espen Hammer (Professor of Philosophy at Temple University, Philadelphia)

Howard Caygill (Professor of Philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern
European Philosophy at Kingston University and Visiting Professor in the
Department of Philosophy at the University of Paris 8)


««¿Defecto físico?», preguntó K.
«Sí», dijo Leni, «pues yo tengo un pequeño defecto; mire». Y separo el dedo
medio y el índice de su mano derecha, entre los que la membrana conjuntiva
llegaba hasta la falange superior de los cortos dedos.» Cf. Franz Kafka, El proceso.

Creo que quizá no debiéramos de dejar tan de la mano aquella a advertencia de
Adorno en la que señalaba con el dedo: «El que
los dedos de Leni estén unidos por una membrana o que los ejecutores parezcan
tenores, es más importante que el excurso sobre la ley.»



The Trial (1962). Orson Welles, dir. 

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