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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

456                   MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

beneath them, and this dog ponders what the relation can be of
this necessary habit with the origin of his necessary food. There
Is also, to the dog, the problem of music: this comes from another
world than that of dog. But no proof is possible, to a dog, of a
connection between the physical and the spiritual world. Thus we
live in a world of mystery that it is futile to seek to fathom.

The three novels - *a trilogy of loneliness', as Max Brod calls
them - expand and intensify the processes of thought of the short
stories. All three are unfinished; it was perhaps Kafka's idea that
they were bound to be unfinished, for they each represent a quest
for the infinite, and the infinite cannot be reached from the finite.
We are in the position of the investigating dog.

In Der Process Josef K. (obviously self-identification of hero
and author is indicated), a bank-clerk, is asleep in bed when he is
roused by a warder and told that he is arrested. The routine of his
life, he learns, may proceed as usual, but he is summoned to appear
before an examining magistrate who holds court in the stuffy,
slanting attic of a house in a slum. Josef K. is never told what the
charge against him is, and there is no indication that he is not
innocent. In his efforts to reach his judges he gropes like a gro-
tesque automaton through the swiftly moving ghost-like happen-
ings of a nightmare, impelled forwards but held back. No progress
is made; that is, the trial is jyit/as, out of time. In the ante-room
is a plump washerwoman, and the proceedings are interrupted
when she is seized at the rear of the court by a legal acolyte in a
sexual paroxysm; the code of the law which the presiding judge
has before him opens with two cubist nudes of opposite sexes
•writhing towards each other but unable to unite because they are too
stiffly drawn. Josef K. himself flirts with this washerwoman. After
a year of such proceedings the end comes: two pale, fat men
wearing frock coats and silk hats take him to a quarry and kill
him, 'like a dog*. The situation has been interpreted as that of a
Jew in a Christian bureaucracy; but against this we have what
Kafka says: 'Esgibt nur timgtistige Welt; was wir die korperliche Welt
nennen^ ist das Rose in dergeistigen? The meaning would thus be that
the individual rebels against spiritual powers which he does not
understand. Josef K,, who was guiltless before his summons,
incurs guilt because he does not acknowledge his judge. The
parallel may be with Job, who disputes with God. Kafka is said
to have stated that the lesson intended is that Everyman, instead