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

Reddig, Sania (2009). The experience of restlessness: a study of movement in the shorter fiction of Franz Kafka. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PT Germanic literature


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