Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Barbarism and Its Discontents$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Maria Boletsi

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804782760

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804782760.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use (for details see www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 20 November 2018

Piecework

Piecework

Chapter:
(p.14) 1. Piecework
Source:
Barbarism and Its Discontents
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804782760.003.0002

This chapter explores the critical thrust of barbarism and its relation to civilization through a close reading of Franz Kafka's short story “The Great Wall of China” (1931). It also discusses the link between barbarism's positive and negative aspects, along with its connection to epistemological and comparative questions. “The Great Wall of China,” which revolves around an unfinished wall, shows barbarism as a force that ruptures the epistemological premises of established discourses and imbues them with foreign and erratic elements. Such interventions allow barbarism to overthrow the epistemological priority of civilization and promise other ways of knowing, which arise from a constant tension with negation, ambivalence, contradictions, and possible impossibilities. In the story, the barbarian nomads themselves are the ones with a better grasp of the construction project. Through his fiction, Kafka underscores the paradoxical dependence of civilization on its barbarians.

Keywords:   barbarism, barbarian, civilization, Franz Kafka, The Great Wall of China, construction

Stanford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.