Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Existentialism and Literature: Kafka and Borges – Notes

[ This was some of the work I did over the break while we were away. I just never got around to uploading it! ]

Both Kafka and Borges were 20th Century novelists


Kafka was best known for his short story writing. He wrote a full length novel called "The Trial"

"The Trial" is about a person who finds himself to be on trial, yet they don't know why they're on trial and who has accused them. They just have the fact that they are guilty. The person questions what it is he has done that was considered a crime

The book demonstrates the cruelty of bureaucracy. As he is accused of this crime, he grows apart from his family and friends.


South American, from Argentina. He is also a short story writer. Short stories are one of the main forms of modern literature. Used greatly by existentialists.

library of babel / lottery of Babylon - Wrote these in the 40's - the 'golden age' of the existentialist writing. These books were not translated into English until the early 1960's.

Main point of the movement is its intense subjectivity. All values are determined by each individual subjectively. There is no set of values that exist externally. If the universe is determined by our own subjective existence it turns out to be an "endless labyrinth".


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