Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Imperative to WriteDestitutions of the Sublime in Kafka, Blanchot and Beckett$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Jeff Fort

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254699

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254699.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use (for details see www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 15 December 2018

Kafka’s Teeth

Kafka’s Teeth

The Literary Gewissensbiss

(p.17) Chapter 1 Kafka’s Teeth
The Imperative to Write

Jeff Fort

Fordham University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the book’s entire section on Kafka (chapters 1-4), in which it is shown that Kafka’s work follows a discernible trajectory from third person narratives governed by dramatic judgment scenes toward stories structured more my ruminating first person voices contending with indefinite anxiety. The arc of this trajectory is one in which the residual sublimity embodied again and again by the judges in Kafka’s judgment narratives is emptied and “destituted.” Beginning with readings of the early letters to Oskar Pollak, and moving on to detailed analyses of the early Diary entries that preceded the composition of “The Judgment,” this chapter shows how the scenario of judgment before a powerful sublime instance is established as the schema of Kafka’s literary striving, which leads directly to the figural and thematic shape of Kafka’s first mature fiction. The image of “two milk teeth” contained in a locked box, mentioned in a letter to Pollak, provides a guiding motif in an analysis that links judgment to the Gewissensbiss or “bite of conscience” in Kafka’s early literary scenographies. A conscience bitten and wounded by projected judgments is shown to be a fundamental configuration of Kafka’s writing during this period.

Keywords:   Franz Kafka, letters to Oskar Pollak, Diaries, bite of conscience, sublime, judgment

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .