This book is not another essay on Kafka. The reading proposed by Michael Löwy is so different from canonical literary studies on this author that it is bound to cause controversy. For it sets out to find the red thread which, in Kafka’s life and work, links the rebellion against the father, the religion of liberty (inspired by orthodox Judaism) and the protestation (of libertarian inspiration) against the deathly power of bureaucratic machinery. Working from often neglected biographical data, such as the contacts the Prague writer had with anarchist milieu and a study of his three unfinished novels as well as of the most important novellas, which are elucidated by fragments, parables, and elements of Kafka’s correspondence and diary, Michael Löwy highlights the extraordinarily critical and subversive dimension of Kafka’s work.
Michael Löwy is director of research at the CNRS. His work, at the crossroad between political philosophy and history of ideas, has been published in 24 languages. Amongst the most recent ones are Redemption and Utopia. Libertarian Judaism in Central Europe PUF, 1988; Romanticism against the current of Modernity (with R. Sayre) Payot, 1992; Walter Benjamin: Fire Warning. A Reading of the theses ‘on the concept of history’, PUF, 2001.
A partir de données biographiques souvent négligées, tels les rapports de l’écrivain pragois avec les milieux anarchistes, et d’une étude des trois grands romans inachevés ainsi que des nouvelles les plus importantes, éclairée par des fragments, des paraboles, des éléments de la correspondance et du journal de Kafka, Michael Löwy met en évidence la dimension formidablement critique et subversive de cette oeuvre.