Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kafka

I never liked Kafka, and to understand why I had to a wait until one of experts and admirers of Kafka’s works, James Hawes, had written his book “Excavating Kafka”.

He dug very well, finding roots and analogies that are crucial for understanding Kafka and his work. Hawes also managed to understand those things which were clear and available although clouded by the myths about ‘lonely’, ‘unknown’, ‘idealistic’, ‘poor’, ‘mysterious’ Kafka. Kafka was not like that at all, and no, he was not the first to imagine a man transforming into a beetle. The first was Kafka’s favourite Goethe…

James Hawes is brilliant in seeing clearly not only the historical perspective, but also the underlying motivation of Kafka’s behaviour, from his collecting porno to cheating the fiancé, and from the literary environment promoting and prizing him at a rather early stage to his investments in Austro-Hungarian war bonds. James Hawes even understands the Saturn revolution happening to Kafka (without naming it in astrological terms, of course).

But the most striking sentence in the whole book is the following. Hawes says in the very end that “… his stories have all the feel of literature, but they simply refuse to deliver what we expect of literature.”

Indeed, Hawes highly values Kafka’s talent, although what he is saying is just a confirmation of my old feeling about Kafka’s writings: his work is rather an imitation of good literature. Very skilful one.

To understand this controversy, let’s look at Kafka’s chart.

Mercury in own house in conjunction with Venus speaks for itself: this is the perfect planetary implementation for a proficient writer and artist; the gift of heaven. Moon in Gemini near this conjunction makes him bright, and Sun-Jupiter in Cancer adds emotionality – double gift for a writer.

Yet, for the root of the heartlessness of this talent (as well as for his masculine peculiarity), look at the Mars in detriment on the most evil star Algol. In fact, reading quotes from letters to his women, I kept thinking about him as an emotional and physical pervert.

I cannot understand how Hawes managed to preserve his respect to Kafka after this research. I am saying this not because I am sympathetic with those women, but because my aversion to his weird stories without “proper literary” ideas (and rather unhealthy in spirit) is confirmed by his personal faults. The Hawes’s book provided me with more facts to support the impression.

Can I appreciate the brilliance of style and imagination if they are not backed by humanism? No. This is why I do not like Kafka.

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