I've been meaning -- and promising -- for several months to start recording the Kafka lecture materials for the online course in Existentialism, but not unlike the experience of so many of his characters, there always seemed to be something interposing, something else coming up that had to be attended to (an irony of this, I suppose, is that one of those other time-demanding projects has been recording lectures on the figure who, more than anyone else, represented what they were reacting against to the Existentialists -- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel!).
So, it was time to finally make the time -- and that is what I did earlier this month. The Metamorphosis was a natural enough work to start with. I supposed that I ought to be able to discuss it adequately within the time of one hour, give or take -- one lecture -- but that didn't turn out to be the case as I started plotting out what I'd wanted to discuss and delve into. Instead, there are two installments -- the first focusing in on the general narrative structures of the work -- character, setting, plot -- and discussing it as a work of Existentialist literature.
Looks rather pensive and professorial, doesn't it, scrutinizing that tome of Kafka's collected works! The second video looks at how one theme specifically plays itself out in the work -- alienation.
Where will we be going from here in the rest of this month, and probably continuing into next month? I've been intending to do a series on one of my favorite of Kafka's works, one which is in some sense the most "Kafkaesque" (I'll write more about just why that is down the line) -- The Trial. So, that's on the docket.
But, there's also some other pieces that I'm particularly interested in. Some of these are short stories, like "Inside the Penal Colony" and "The Judgement". There's also the never-sent but very revealing "Letter to My Father". And, then, of course, there's the parables, including the dizzying parable about parables. . . .