Abstract: This article is an analysis of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges’s short text “Kafka and His Precursors.” Although appearing to be an example of literary . Jorge Luis Borges – Kafka and His Precursors. Link to an essay by Jorge Luis Borges (translated by James E. Irby). “Kafka and His Precursors”. Everything and nothing: On Jorge Luis Borges’s “Kafka and His Precursors”. Romance Quarterly 57 (2)

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Maybe Hegel strikes again? Irby I once premeditated making a study of Kafka’s precursors.

An invincible army of warriors leaves precurxors infinite castle, conquers kingdoms and sees monsters and exhausts the deserts and the mountains, but they never reach Carcassonne, though they once glimpse it from afar. Boorges shall record a few of these here, in chronological order. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here A moving object at A declares Aristotle cannot reach point B, because it must first cover half the distance between two points, and before that, half of the half, and before that, adn of the half of the half, and so on to infinity; the form of this illustrious problem is, exactly, that of “The Castle”, and the moving object and the arrow and Achilles are the first Kafkian characters in literature.

Kafka and His Precursors – The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

We have the guilty mind mens rea but not the guilty act actus reus. Danish ministers had declared from their pulpits that participation in these expeditions was beneficial to the soul’s eternal well-being.

This observation precedes Borges and this text, and so confirms what is now his repetition of what can present itself as an established fact. This is the paragraph, mysterious and calm, which I marked: They provide a more rational justification for my instinctive mistrust of such developments beyond my own technophobia.

At first I had considered him to be as singular as the phoenix of rhetorical praise; after frequenting his pages a bit, I came to think I could recognize his voice, or his practices, in texts from diverse literatures and periods. It is universally admitted that the unicorn is a supernatural being of good omen; such is declared in all the odes, annals, biographies of illustrious men and other texts whose authority is unquestionable.


You are commenting using your Twitter account. The poem “Fears and Scruples” by Browning foretells Kafka’s work, but our reading of Kafka perceptibly sharpens and deflects our reading of the poem. The other is entitled “Carcassonne” and is the work of Lord Dunsany. Lowrie, in his “Kierkegaard” Oxford University Press,transcribes two of these. But this animal does not figure among the domestic beasts, it is not always easy to find, it does not lend itself to classification.

Jorge Luis Borges – Kafka and His Precursors

Email required Address never made public. In each of these texts borgrs find Kafka’s idiosyncrasy to a greater or lesser degree, but if Kafka had never written a line, we would not perceive this quality; in other words, it would not exist. You are commenting using your WordPress.

Then someone places these traits in doubt and the handwriting experts declare that the letters are apocryphal. The early Kafka of “Betrachtung” is less a precursor of the Kafka of somber myths and atrocious institutions than is Browning or Lord Dunsany.

September 4, at 7: In such conditions, we could be face to face with a unicorn and not know for precudsors what it was.

They admitted, however, that it was difficult, and perhaps impossible, to reach the Pole and that not all men could undertake the adventure. What is the relationship between remaking and distorting? It is also strangely located in time: The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors. Notify me of new posts via email. September 5, at The first is Zeno’s paradox against movement. precurors

Browning did not read it as we do now. It is an intervention between the plan and its execution, between intention and act. But Borges also suggests that such apparent oddities or impossibilities are remarkably common, even quotidian: Twitter Facebook Google Print. In the critics’ vocabulary, the word “precursor” is indispensable, but it should be cleansed of all connotation of polemics or rivalry.

One is the story of a counterfeiter who, under constant surveillance, counts banknotes in the Bank of England; in the same way, God would distrust Kierkegaard and have given him a task to perform, precisely because He knew that he was familiar with evil.


But this then leaves us asking ourselves about the status of the text that we have before us, which as the title promises and as further readings confirms turns out to concern precisely the topic of the projected but unwritten or abandoned study: Hope all goes well. If I am not mistaken, the heterogeneous pieces I have enumerated resemble Kafka; if I am not mistaken, not all of them resemble each other.

We know that such and such an animal with a mane is a horse and that such and such an animal with horns is a bull.

Finally, they would announce that any trip – from Denmark to London, let us say, on the regularly scheduled steamer – was, properly considered, an expedition to the North Pole. The man asks, in the last line: This strange invocation of legal discourse might suggest that some wrong-doing is afoot, or that we are hearing some prefursors of xnd. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.

In the second text which chance laid before me, the affinity is not one of form but one of tone. Uis subject of the other parable is the North Pole expeditions.

Jorge Luis Borges – Kafka and His Precursors – Rock Salted

The fourth of these prefigurations I have found is Browning’s poem “Fears and Scruples,” published A man has, or believes he has, a famous friend. Here, these opening lines anticipate the central problematic of the essay itself, which is about the ways in which texts are related and how strange fissures or reversals upset linear temporality, just as it in turn makes or unmakes its point through performance as much as through argument or exposition: Even children and village women know that a unicorn constitutes a favorable presage.

September 5, at 8:

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