Prof. Anne Fuchs (UCD Humanities Institute)
Modern Man’s Trouble with Time: Kafka’s Der Proceß / The Trial
On Thursday, October 18th 2018
Jakobi 2-114 at 18.15
"Analyzing the discourse on timekeeping and lateness in Kafka’s The Trial, my paper demonstrates that the novel overturns modernity’s one-sided, speed-as-progress narrative by puncturing the chronology and linearity of time with metaphysical time. Josef K.’s inability to keep time or to stay attentive when it really matters makes him a protagonist who has lost the capacity to acknowledge the possibility of a different temporality.
He therefore misreads his trial by interpreting it solely with reference to modern notions of legal evidence, procedures, and institutions. Intersecting the analysis of Kafka’s handling of narrative time with a discussion of how manifestations of metaphysical time in the novel challenge Josef K.’s modern control over time and modernity’s time regime, my paper foregrounds temporal ambivalence as a central feature of Kafka’s world."
Anne Fuchs (MRIA, FBA) is Professor and Director of the UCD Humanities Institute. She is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the British Academy. She has published widely on German cultural memory, modernist literature, contemporary German literature and, more recently, on theories of time and temporality in modernity.
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