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Franz Kafka’s automatic writing

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2019, (72), pp.97-131
  • DOI : 10.31310/HUM.072.04
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : January 9, 2019
  • Accepted : January 31, 2019
  • Published : February 28, 2019

MiRi Park 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to verify Franz Kafka’s automatic writing based on a philological review. Furthermore, the paper aims to highlight the authenticity of Franz Kafka’s automatic writing by suggesting the similarities and differences between Franz Kafka’s automatic writing and Écriture Automatique of Surrealism. The conclusions drawn from the analysis on “The Judgment (Das Urteil)” as an example for automatic writing demonstrate that improvisational elements, dreamlike elements, and unconscious elements are inferred as the essential factors in the automatic writing of Surrealism. The improvisational elements are manifested in the typical, unplanned beginning of writing, inconsistency of text progression, numerous beginning parts of a novel, slight revision, a flowing style of parallelism in writing, and the eccentric use of punctuation marks that go against school rules. The dreamlike element is expressed in the work as the split different characters in a psychological conflict, a lack of causal chain in the progress of the story, exceeding a normal, experiential boundary, flowing all incidents put in disorder, a dissolved division of dream and reality. Kafka stated his writing as a “description of dreamlike inner life.” The unconscious elements, before anything else, can be attested by Kafka’s many different statements. For example, “one must write as if in a dark tunnel, without knowing how the characters are going to develop,” “descent to the dark powers”, and “submerged in unknown deep levels of personality.” Considering the similarities and differences between Kafka’s writing and Écriture Automatique of Surrealism, Kafka’s version of automatic writing should be considered as an indigenous parallel development achieved on the other side of Surrealism.

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This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.