Kafka “Shanghai-Ed”: Orientalist China in Kafka’s Fiction and Kafkaesque Phenomena in China

  • Primož Mlačnik Teaching Assistant, Juniour Researcher, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana

Abstract

During a visit to Shanghai in August 2019, I attempted to use the auto-ethnographic method to answer a few general questions: what is the image of China in Kafka’s literary imagination, what is Kafkaesque in Shanghai, and what is Shanghai-esque in Kafka? Because the combination of theoretical interest, spontaneous ethnographic observations, and personal reflections proved insufficient to respond to these questions, I also analyzed Kafka’s ‘Chinese’ stories, namely The Great Wall of China, In the Penal Colony, The Message from The Emperor, An Old Manuscript, and The Letters to Felice, and two Kafkaesque phenomena in China: the Shanghai World Expo and the Chinese Ghost Cities. I concluded that Kafka’s fiction contains certain Orientalist elements and that, through the perspective of contemporary material Kafkaesque phenomena, are more western than the West.
Published
May 31, 2019
How to Cite
MLAČNIK, Primož. Kafka “Shanghai-Ed”: Orientalist China in Kafka’s Fiction and Kafkaesque Phenomena in China. European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 2, p. 36-44, may 2019. ISSN 2411-4138. Available at: <http://journals.euser.org/index.php/ejis/article/view/4329>. Date accessed: 17 aug. 2019. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.26417/ejis-2019.v5i2-283.