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The Bond of the Furthest ApartEssays on Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Bresson, and Kafka$
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Sharon Cameron

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226413907

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226414232.001.0001

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Kafka’s No-Hope Spaces

Kafka’s No-Hope Spaces

(p.168) 5 Kafka’s No-Hope Spaces
The Bond of the Furthest Apart

Sharon Cameron

University of Chicago Press

This essay focuses on the interiors and exteriors in Kafka’s writing—regions that cannot be penetrated, integrated, or escaped. The estrangement of such spaces is then replicated in another register by Kafka’s animal stories and by his letters to Milena in which animal designates the experience of being unrecognizable to oneself in any system of classification, of feeling so alienated from community that one experiences oneself as residing outside its realm, while not encountering one’s kind among the members of any other species. “Animal” signifies a state of alienation that exists metaphysically prior to social arrangements in the nature of being itself. The essay suggests an analogy between Nancy’s idea of the sublime which reaches beyond imaginative and aesthetic enclosures and Kafka’s transgression of the taxonomies that would classify the creatures in his stories.

Keywords:   Franz Kafka, animal, Letters to Milena, Jean-Luc Nancy, sublime, taxonomies

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