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Søren Says

Angst is really nothing but impatience.
~ Journal

Which might remind you of …

“There are two main human sins from which all the others derive: impatience and indolence. It was because of impatience that they were expelled from Paradise, it is because of indolence that they do not return. Yet perhaps there is only one major sin: impatience. Because of impatience they were expelled, because of impatience they do not return.”
~ Kafka

Kafka was certainly a close reader of Kierkegaard – maybe it was the “K” at the beginning of his name. According to Leena Eilttä, “Kafka turns Kierkegaard’s ideas about spiritual inwardness and passionate attitude towards religious life into artistic inwardness and passionate attitude towards art”, which has for a long time struck me as very likely. Here’s the entire abstract for her paper on the subject:

Although Kafka’s reception of Kierkegaardian ideas has received much critical attention the critics have so far paid little heed to similarities between Kierke-gaard’s religious and Kafka’s aesthetic views. My intention in the following is to show that in spite of Kafka’s critical remarks on his philosophy, Kierkegaard’s definition of a religious person influenced his description of the artist’s existence in Erstes Leid (1922), Ein Hungerkünstler (1922) and Josefine, die Sängerin oder das Volk der Mäuse (1924). In these stories Kafka turns Kierkegaard’s ideas about spiritual inwardness and passionate attitude towards religious life into artistic inwardness and passionate attitude towards art. He also describes how devotion that these artists feel towards their art leads to their solitude and how their lives reflect suffering, doubt and despair which is similar to Kierkegaard’s description of religious suffering. Kafka’s critical remarks on Kierkegaard’s philosophy should therefore be understood as a clear rejection of Kierkegaard’s Protestant theology, although these same ideas gave him inspiration to formulate his views on the artist’s existence.

Comments

  1. Rufus McCain says

    Fascinating quote; and interesting K-connection.

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