Date of Award
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) -- Criticism and interpretation, Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) -- Criticism and interpretation
For both Hannah Arendt and Franz Kafka modernity is a matter of loss. Arendt articulates this loss as coeval with the rise of 'society' and the subsumption of the public sphere by the private. Kafka is more oblique, but I believe his fiction describes the same kind of socialization process, a process that leads to alienation, loss of agency, and ultimately, failure. By reading Kafka through an Arendtian lens I show how each writer's conception of modernity complements the others. By integrating Walter Benjamin's influential reading, I show how Kafka's ideas of 'progress' and 'knowledge', subsumed under the social, inevitably leads to failure.
Carpenter, Chris, "Building Stories: Modernity, Socialization and Failure in Works of Franz Kafka and Hannah Arendt" (2013). University Honors Theses. Paper 8.