Incomplete and self-dismantling structures : the built space, the text, the body

  • The present essay engages with the short story 'The Burrow', written by Franz Kafka between 1923 and 1924, a few months before his death. The ambiguity of the original title, 'Der Bau', which defies translation by pointing at the same time at a construction and an excavation work, anticipates the multilayered image of the burrow itself. While both nature and function of the burrow are hard to pinpoint (is it a dwelling, a shelter, a fortress, a labyrinth, a ruin?), the initially reported success of its construction is revealed as illusory, thus prompting the ongoing first-person narration of the incessant builder's work. Similarly unsuccessful is any attempt of the reader to attain metaphorical closure. In the light of other impossible, i.e., unfinished, bound-to-fail, ruinous, or selfdismantling structures portrayed by Kafka, as well as on the background of coeval texts by Paul Valéry and Georg Simmel, the essay investigates the wide and deep significance of the burrow’s countering the classical ideal of architectural wholeness.

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Author:Antonio Castore
Parent Title (English):Errans : going astray, being adrift, coming to nothing / ed. by Christoph F.E. Holzhey and Arnd Wedemeyer ; Cultural Inquiry ; 24
Publisher:ICI Press
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2022/10/10
Year of first Publication:2022
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/10/21
Tag:Architecture and literature; Fragmentation (Philosophy) in literature; Incompleteness; Ruins
GND Keyword:Kafka, Franz; Der Bau; Valéry, Paul; Eupalinos; Vitruvius; De architectura; Architektur; Struktur; Ruine; Unvollständigkeit
Page Number:20
First Page:94
Last Page:112
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
8 Literatur / 83 Deutsche und verwandte Literaturen / 830 Literaturen germanischer Sprachen; Deutsche Literatur
8 Literatur / 84 Französische und verwandte Literaturen / 840 Literaturen romanischer Sprachen; Französische Literatur
Sammlungen:Germanistik / GiNDok
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / ICI Berlin
BDSL-Klassifikation:17.00.00 20. Jahrhundert (1914-1945) / BDSL-Klassifikation: 17.00.00 20. Jahrhundert (1914-1945) > 17.18.00 Zu einzelnen Autoren
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-SA - Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 4.0 International