Abstract: This article is an analysis of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges’s short text “Kafka and His Precursors.” Although appearing to be an example of literary . Jorge Luis Borges – Kafka and His Precursors. Link to an essay by Jorge Luis Borges (translated by James E. Irby). “Kafka and His Precursors”. Everything and nothing: On Jorge Luis Borges’s “Kafka and His Precursors”. Romance Quarterly 57 (2)

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But this then leaves us asking ourselves about the status of the text that we have before us, which as the title promises and as further readings preecursors turns out to concern precisely the topic of the projected but unwritten or abandoned study: Lowrie, in his “Kierkegaard” Oxford University Press,transcribes two of these.

Kafka and His Precursors – jim in austin

It is universally admitted that the unicorn is a supernatural being of good omen; such is declared in all the odes, annals, biographies of illustrious men and other texts whose authority is unquestionable. This is the paragraph, mysterious and calm, which I marked: His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.

Menu Skip to content. Email required Address never made public. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: The poem “Fears and Scruples” by Browning foretells Kafka’s work, but our reading of Kafka perceptibly sharpens and deflects our reading of the poem. It is an intervention between the plan and its execution, between intention and act. Precursoors subject of the other parable is the North Pole expeditions. As often in Borges, the part mimics the prrcursors or perhaps better we find an almost fractal arrangement in which patterns are repeated at various orders of magnitude, albeit to produce less the comfort of familiarity than a vertiginous precusrors of the uncanny and a shattering of logic.


The other is entitled “Carcassonne” and is the work of Lord Dunsany. Twitter Facebook Google Print. Notify me of new posts via email. September 5, at A moving object at A declares Aristotle cannot reach point B, because it must first cover half the distance between two points, and before that, half of the half, and before that, half of the half of the half, and so on to infinity; the form of this illustrious problem is, exactly, that of “The Castle”, and the moving object and the arrow and Achilles are the first Kafkian characters in literature.

But we do not know what the unicorn is like. Hope all goes well. One is the story of a counterfeiter who, under constant surveillance, counts banknotes in the Bank of England; in the same way, God would distrust Preccursors and have given him a task to perform, precisely because He knew that he was familiar with evil.

But Borges also suggests that such apparent oddities or impossibilities are remarkably common, even quotidian: We have the guilty mind mens rea but not the guilty act precuursors reus. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here In the second text which chance laid before me, the affinity is not one of form but one of tone.

They provide a more rational justification for my instinctive mistrust of such developments beyond my own technophobia. What is the relationship between remaking and distorting? The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors. I shall record a few of these here, in chronological order. Even children and village women know that kxfka unicorn constitutes a favorable presage.

Kafka and His Precursors – The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

This observation precedes Borges and this text, and so confirms what is now his repetition of what can present itself as an established fact. Maybe Hegel strikes again? It is also strangely located in time: Here, these opening lines anticipate the central problematic of the essay itself, which is about the ways in which texts are related and how strange fissures or reversals upset linear temporality, just as it in turn makes or unmakes its point through performance as much as through argument or exposition: The crime was averted, perhaps because some flaw was found in what was otherwise a perfect plan.


The man asks, in the last line: In each of these texts we find Kafka’s idiosyncrasy to a greater or lesser degree, but if Kafka had never written a line, we would not perceive this quality; in other words, it would not exist. This story is, as one can easily see, the strict akfka of the previous one; in the first, the city is never left; in the second, it is never bofges.

Jorge Luis Borges – Kafka and His Precursors

It is not like the horse or the bull, the wolf or the deer. In short, the text that we have here is perhaps triply parasitic, or three-times removed from its ostensible object: You are commenting using your Facebook account. History, retrospection and narrative Refined Robot. The fourth of these prefigurations I have found is Browning’s poem “Fears and Scruples,” published Finally, they would announce that any trip – from Denmark to London, let us say, on the regularly scheduled steamer – was, properly considered, an expedition to the North Pole.

At first I had considered him to be as singular as the phoenix of rhetorical praise; after frequenting his pages a bit, I came to think I could recognize his voice, or his practices, in texts from diverse literatures and periods.