The Great Wall of China and Other Short Stories

If you have read all the major works of Kafka, you should totally consider reading:’The Great Wall of China and Other Stories’ by Franz Kafka.Only a small number of Kafka’s stories were published during his lifetime, and these are published in Penguin as Metamorphosis and Other Stories. He asked his friend, Max Brod, to see that all the writings he left should be destroyed.Kafka left his work, both published and unpublished, to his a friend and literary executor Max Brod with explicit instructions that it should be destroyed on Kafka’s death; Kafka wrote: “Dearest Max, my last request:” Everything I leave behind me … in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and other’s), sketches, and so on, is to be burned unread”.Brod ignored this request and published the novels and collected works between 1925 and 1935, beginning with the three unfinished novels, The Trial (1925), The Castle (1926) and Amerika (1927).

Other lesser known and incomplete shorter works appeared posthumously in a more
sporadic fashion and a representative selection of them are collected in this book.This book contains the major short works left by Kafka, and it presents them for the first time in the order of their composition. The sequence and dating of the works are particularly important, because of the very close links between his life and his writing. So it may be useful to mention here some of the relevant myths considered about Kafka without even considering circumstances:

  • Kafka was the archetypal genius neglected in his lifetime
  • Kafka was lonely.
  • Kafka was stuck in a dead-end job, struggling to find time to write.
  • Kafka was tormented by the fear of sex.Kafka was unbending honest about himself to the women in his life –too honest.
  • Kafka had a terrible, domineering father who had no understanding of his son’s needs.
  • Kafka’s style is mysterious and opaque.
  • Kafka takes us into bizarre worlds.

Although of course, these cannot by themselves supply an interpretation of the stories. Kafka’s work is full of autobiographical material, but equally, it is more than just a kind of veiled autobiography. He did indeed say that some of his pieces were “really no more than jottings or doodling of an entirely private nature”, but his chief aim in turning his life into literature was to go beyond the merely personal, to bring out the fundamental – mythical – patterns of human existence, and so to ‘raise the world into the pure, the true, the immutable’ (diary of 25 September 1917).Every story in this volume is allegorical, disturbing and possessing a dream-like clarity, these writings are quintessential Kafka.

For Example :This book begins with’The Village Schoolmaster’, It stands out as one of Kafka’s funniest stories, a hilarious exercise in futility which characteristically ends in dismal failure for all involved.The story doesn’t concern the giant mole itself – which is said to be “a couple of yards” long, but whose existence has never been confirmed. Instead, it focuses on an academic quarrel which arises over the quality of reporting on the alleged mole. The narrator, however, has never seen the mole. He merely heard about the “little treatise” that the village schoolmaster wrote about the sighting. (In fact, it is not even clear whether the schoolmaster personally saw the mole, or only documented accounts of it from the villagers. In surprisingly postmodern fashion, there is no objective basis whatsoever to the story: the whole thing seems to be based on hearsay.

This book contain the stories like The Great Wall of China, Blumfeld, An Elderly Bachelor, Investigations of a Dog and his great sequences of aphorisms, with fables and parables on subjects ranging from the legend of Prometheus to the Tower of Babel, The Knock at Manor Gate and many others and all of them will give you taste of Kafka’s wits and dream-like reality.This volume also contains , “The Collected Aphorisms” in which 109 of the aphorism like

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

and 108 others collected in one chapter.You will certainly enjoy this read if you have read major Kafka’s work already.

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