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The experience of restlessness: a study of movement in the shorter fiction of Franz Kafka

Reddig, Sania (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Images of movement represent a ubiquitous element in Kafka’s writings. This study explores the role of these images as a form of patterning in the fictions. With an eye to continuity and evolution, the study explores the patterns of movement pervading Kafka’s early collection Betrachtung and a selection of texts written between 1915 and 1917. What emerges is a persistent concern with the condition of restlessness, its origins and consequences. The condition emerges from a conflict between the protagonists’ desire for stability and purposive activity and their experience of dynamic forces that escape or resist any form of containment. This conflict results in an oscillating motion that dominates the physical, mental and narrative movements shaping Kafka’s stories. Analysing the relation between early and later texts, the thesis argues that Kafka deploys this central conflict productively to capture a wide spectrum of states of mind. As he explores restlessness in ever wider circles of life, he explores psychological, social and ideological structures, as well as some of the grand narratives of life, death and myth. This differentiated view on the inner dynamics of Kafka's narratives provides a fruitful perspective on questions concerning the development of the oeuvre as a whole.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Speirs, Ronald
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of German Studies
Subjects:PT Germanic literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:948
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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