|About the Book|
Few writers of fiction anticipate the preoccupations of twentieth-century culture with violence, derangement, and language with the lucidity that Franz Kafka achieved in his novel The Trial. The dull hammering of dread and loneliness in daily life -MoreFew writers of fiction anticipate the preoccupations of twentieth-century culture with violence, derangement, and language with the lucidity that Franz Kafka achieved in his novel The Trial. The dull hammering of dread and loneliness in daily life - anonymous menace, bureaucratic complexity, isolation, punishment without crime - furnish a distressing snapshot of not just the authors time and place, but the whole of the twentieth century. The manifold components of World War I - elements which seem as poignant and divisive today as in 1914 - enter the fictive domain of The Trial as well. Nationalism, worldwide economic downturn, class strife, and massive ethnic upheaval all color the events of the novel. Yet, despite the remarkable detail of social and political history, The Trial represents Kafkas greatest unleashing of psychological, philosophical, and aesthetic insight. In The Trial: Kafkas Unholy Trinity, author Henry Sussman places the novel in its historical, aesthetic, and philosophical contexts, and examines Kafkas insight as a psychologist of the artistic process. Sussman argues persuasively that Kafka may have anticipated his centurys infatuation with linguistic processes and distortions, pointing out a vast and profound body of original and disturbing literary works that bear the unique mark of Franz Kafka. He examines the interplay between those processes and the psychological structures of the novel, detailing Kafka as an uncanny theorist of art and language. So too does he examine the building blocks in Kafkas work: the forerunners of the trial scenario within his aphorisms and short fictions- the writers he cherished - Dostoevsky, Gogol, Balzac, and Dickens- and the sustained influence of filial, aesthetic, and messianic mentalities in his work.