Freedom and Confinement in Modernity: Kafka's Cages

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Overview

Franz Kafka’s literary universe is organized around constellations of imprisonment. Freedom and Confinement in Modernity proposes that imprisonment does not signify a tortured state of the individual in modernity. Rather, it allows Kafka to perform a critique of a modernity that first posits a clear-cut opposition between confinement and freedom, and then sets up freedom as an ideal which, conceived in such absolute terms, is by definition unattainable.

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Freedom and Confinement in Modernity: Kafka's Cages

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Overview

Franz Kafka’s literary universe is organized around constellations of imprisonment. Freedom and Confinement in Modernity proposes that imprisonment does not signify a tortured state of the individual in modernity. Rather, it allows Kafka to perform a critique of a modernity that first posits a clear-cut opposition between confinement and freedom, and then sets up freedom as an ideal which, conceived in such absolute terms, is by definition unattainable.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" Kordela (Macalester College) and Vardoulakis (Univ. of Western Sydney, Australia) have put together a collection
that provides a new window into Franz Kafka's world and the myriad images that have defined and often too neatly
categorized his work. Comprising 11 essays assembled in three sections - "Interpreting Kafka's Cages,"
"Reconceptualizations of Kafka's Cages," and "Performatives of Kafka's Cages" - the collection "re-view[s] and
re-think[s]" the images of the cage/prison/cell and definitions of escape, states of imprisonment, and freedom. In so
doing, the book raises new and revisionary questions about Kafka's work and issues of constraint and freedom and
how freedom is constructed individually and collectively. The essays defy notions of imprisonment as a state of
fracture and torture against more traditional constructs. A compelling examination of modernistic and
postmodernistic views of freedom, this collection will surely catalyze and forward critical discourse on the work of
this compelling literary artist well into the 21st century." - Choice

"Focusing on one of Kafka's crucial problem images - the cage, the prisoner, the question of imprisonment, escape, and freedom - Freedom and Confinement in Modernity does away with the misleading conception of imprisonment as lack of freedom. Instead, it combines a rich variety of approaches to unfold the cage as agent of cultural productivity and of literature itself. This volume provides a shining example of collaboration between philosophy, cultural studies, and literary theory." - Benno Wagner, Professor, Siegen University

"The essays collected in Freedom and Confinement in Modernity set out to pursue a novel approach to Kafka's world. The focus on the figure of the "cage" is thoughtful and original, as it allows us to rethink the literary specificity of Kafka's texts in terms of broader sociopolitical concerns, and situates Kafka's challenging work at the transdisciplinary core of fields as diverse as aesthetic theory, political philosophy, literary history, and psychoanalysis. This is a marvelous and thought-provoking volume." - Gerhard Richter, Professor of German and Director of the Graduate Program in Critical Theory, University of California, Davis

"The power to stimulate fresh questions rather than put to rest earlier ones is surely a mark of what we have come to call greatness in a writer. Few have matched Kafka in generating successive challenges to conventional wisdom not only about literature, but also about life. In Freedom and Confinement in Modernity we come to know a new Kafka, who forces us to rethink many of our assumptions about the delicate relationship between constraint and emancipation in the modern era." - Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History, University of California Berkeley

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Product Details

Meet the Author

A. Kiarina Kordela is an Associate Professor at Macalester College and the author of $urplus: Spinoza, Lacan.

Dimitris Vardoulakis is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney. He is the author of The Doppelgänger: Literature’s Philosophy and the editor of Spinoza Now.

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations of Kafka's Works vii

Notes on Contributors ix

Kafka's Cages: An Introduction A. Kiarina Kordela Dimitris Vardoulakis 1

Part I Interpreting Kafka's Cages

1 Special Views on Kafka's Cages Stanley Corngold 9

2 Delusions of Agency: Kafka, Imprisonment, and Modern Victimhood Chris Fleming John O'Carroll 29

3 Kafka and Derrida Before the Laws Howard Caygill 49

Part II Reconceptualizations of Kafka's Cages

4 Kafka's Cage John Mowitt 63

5 "The Fall is the proof of our freedom": Mediated Freedom in Kafka Dimitris Vardoulakis 87

6 "Workforce without Possessions": Kafka, "Social Justice," and the Word Religion Peter Fenves 107

7 Kafkaesque: (Secular) Kabbalah and Allegory A. Kiarina Kordela 127

8 The Ethics and Beauty of The Trial: Kafka's Circumscription of Failure Ross Shields 159

Part III Performatives of Kafka's Cages

9 Kafka's Fatal Performatives: Between "Bad Conscience" and Betrayed Vulnerability Karyn Ball 179

10 How is the Trapeze Possible? Christophe Bident 201

11 With Impunity Henry Sussman 213

Index 239

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    Fadestar

    Cant be on tonight. Note at camp.

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    Posted July 14, 2014

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    *She pads in and sits down.*

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    Posted July 14, 2014

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    She jumps up onto the GreatRock. "All Clans, gather here!"

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