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In History's GripPhilip Roth's Newark Trilogy$
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Michael Kimmage

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804781824

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804781824.001.0001

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Conclusion; or, Kafka in Newark

Conclusion; or, Kafka in Newark

Chapter:
(p.133) Conclusion; or, Kafka in Newark
Source:
In History's Grip
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804781824.003.0005

Born in 1883, Franz Kafka was a historical figure whose Prague was occupied by the Nazis and then the Soviets. A Jew who lived mostly in Prague and wrote in German, Kafka describes the prison-house of modernity, of modern politics, of totalitarianism before the fact, and of modern Jewish life. He tackles the plight of an emancipated, assimilated Jewry that suffered from anti-Semitism as well as the plight of a great writer living as a non-Christian in a Christian world. As one who walks hand in hand with history, Kafka figures prominently in one of Philip Roth's most engaging literary jokes where he is taken to Newark: the short story-essay “I Always Wanted You to Admire My Fasting'; or, Looking at Kafka,” published in 1973. In the period between Goodbye, Columbus (1959) and The Human Stain (2000), Roth has seen how the distance between his America and Kafka's Europe, between Newark and Prague, has progressively narrowed.

Keywords:   Franz Kafka, Prague, Newark, Jewry, anti-Semitism, Philip Roth, history, The Human Stain, Goodbye, Columbus

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