Though most eBooks are simple conversions of paper books, "The eNotated A Hunger Artist" is a completely new approach that takes advantage of ebook technology by providing eNotations (electronic annotations), essays, and background information conveniently accessible through links and a comprehensive table of contents.
Written by Kafka and Goethe scholar and Wellesley College German professor, Jens Kruse, this background biographical, historical, and interpretive information makes Kafka's simple-to-read but difficult-to-understand and puzzling European literature classic more accessible and the reading experience more satisfying.
This edition of "A Hunger Artist" is based on Ian Johnston's translation and also includes a fragment ("The Man-eater," translated by Dr. Kruse and here published for the first time in English) Kafka wrote for but didn't include in the published edition of the story.
With the extensive eNotations and topical essays, Dr. Kruse shows how Kafka was, with this story, "working through the extreme doubt and ambivalence he felt about his own art at this point in his life, which is amply evidenced in his diaries and letters of the time. Further, the multiple references to other writers and, even more so, the many cross references to his own oeuvre might suggest that Kafka was, however obliquely, engaged in cataloguing and summarizing, for himself and others, his own artistic achievement or failure up to this time....All of these [resources provided in this edition] will hopefully aid and enrich the reader's understanding, but they are not meant as interpretations. As a matter of fact, we will resist the desire to soften the impact of the story by domesticating it with a specific interpretation." (From the introduction.)
"A Hunger Artist" is one of the most important European short literary works of the early 20th century - simultaneously compelling and confusing, haunting yet matter-of-fact. Dr. Kruse provides a framework that, while not solving the puzzle Kafka left us, makes it much clearer and richer.
Jens Kruse, born in Hamburg and educated in Germany and the United States has been studying and teaching Kafka for three decades and in this eNotated version of "A Hunger Artist" shares with the reader what he has learned during that process - by adding extensive eNotations, an introduction, a bibliography, a chronology, and topical essays titled "Animal", "Art", "Intertextuality", "Religion", and "Time" - themes that run through Kafka's haunting story.
If you are going to read Kafka for the first time - or reread him after some years - you will best enjoy and more effectively appreciate him with this unique eNotated edition. If you have not already done so you might also want to try Dr. Kruse's editions of "The eNotated Metamorphosis," "The eNotated In the Penal Colony," and "The eNotated A Country Doctor."
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About the Author
Mr. Kruse joined the Wellesley College faculty in 1983. He teaches both German language and literature on all levels of the curriculum and has served repeatedly as chair of the German Department and Coordinator of Foreign Language Chairs. He served as Associate Dean of the College from 1992 until 1999.
His particular teaching interests are late 18th and early 19th century literature, especially the works of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and 20th century literature, especially the works of Franz Kafka and Martin Walser. He has also taught comparative literature courses, such as Classic Western Texts in Contemporary Perspective and Imaginary Crimes and Courts: the Law in Literature
He is the author of the book Der Tanz der Zeichen: Poetische Struktur und Geschichte in Goethe's Faust II and of articles on Goethe, Goethe reception, Franz Kafka, and Martin Walser. In his most recent book, Tortured Enlightenment: Writing and Reading in Kafka's "In the Penal Colony," written mostly for the general reader in the form of letters to his family, Mr. Kruse examines this horrifying novella of the year 1914 for instructions on how best to read Kafka.
Recently, Mr. Kruse has published editions of Kafka's The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and A Country Doctor specifically designed for electronic readers (eNotated Classics, 2011-2012).
Date of Birth:July 3, 1883
Date of Death:June 3, 1924
Place of Birth:Prague, Austria-Hungary
Place of Death:Vienna, Austria
Education:German elementary and secondary schools. Graduated from German Charles-Ferdinand University of Prague.