Sunday, April 26, 2020

Kafka the joker

Franz Kafka laughed while reading from "The Trial", which might seem odd, as the "Kafkaesque" isn't usually considered humorous. But his work is peppered with humor, especially word play. The title of "Before the Law" isn't unusual, as in the phrase "equality before the law", but the opening sentence makes that rhetorical abstraction concrete and literal: "Before the law stands a doorkeeper." The law becomes something one can "stand before"; as it even has a doorkeeper, and hence a door, it is now an architectural work one can enter. The brief story then plays out the comedy of the doorkeeper's refusal to let "the man from the country" enter "the law".  (Andrew Shields, #111words, 26 April)

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