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Franz Kafka’s reading circle as a representation of the historical discourse of the beginning of the 20th century

M.M. Ozhigova
80,00 ₽

UDC 821.112.2

DOI 10.20339/PhS.4-23.141  


Ozhigova Maria M.,

PhD student of the Literary Theory Department

Lomonosov Moscow State University


ORCID 0000-0002-9631-0446


The article deals with the receptive aspect of the work of the German-speaking writer Franz Kafka, namely his reading circle, reflected in diary entries and letters. The reading circle is analyzed in order to understand how the peculiarities of a certain historical discourse manifest themselves through the prism of the writer’s perception. The author separates the concepts of historical “discourse” and historical “context”, and based on the terminology and works of Michel Foucault, and shows how Kafka’s diaries and letters represent not particular historical events, but the general background, atmosphere, and a certain discourse of that time. At the same time, Kafka’s figure was not chosen by chance. His prose is immanent and practically does not reflect historical events. At the same time, despite the significance of the period from the beginning of the century until the writer’s death in 1924, his diaries and letters contain little information of the era. The article deals with both Kafka’s contemporaries and writers of the past, no longer related to the discourse of the beginning of the 20th century. On the one hand, I.V. Goethe and V. Dilthey. On the other hand, such contemporaries as Maximilian Garden, Maurice Rosenfeld and David Edelstadt, who wrote in Yiddish, and as well as Rudolf Steiner, who was popular at that time. The author offers a new look at the phenomenon of discursivity, and shows how the historical discourse of the beginning of the 20th century is “viewed” through Kafka’s selection of these authors, without assessments of historical events.

Keywords: Michel Foucault, discourse, the beginning of the 20th century, F. Kafka, reading circle.



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