James Hawes: "Excavating Kafka: Text as Historical Artefact"

5 pm Tuesday 4th November (Tuesday 4th week), The Main Hall, Taylor Institution, Oxford


The novelist and critic James Hawes will give a special lecture based on his controversial book, Excavating Kafka (2008), courtesy of New College and the Oxford Kafka Research Centre.


Excavating Kafka (2008) aims at debunking a number of key facets of what it considers to be the "Kafka-Myth", including the idea that Kafka was the archetypal genius neglected in his lifetime; that he was stuck in a dead-end job and struggling to find time to write; that he was tormented by fear of sex; that he had a uniquely terrible, domineering father who had no understanding of his son's needs; that his literature is mysterious and opaque; that he constructs fantasy-worlds in which innocent everymen live in fear of mysterious and totalitarian powers-that-be.

"Hawes is one of the most audacious, obsessive and endlessly inventive critics of an author with whose work he is clearly and wonderfully obsessed."

           Ian Samson, The Guardian, 13 September 2008

"Kafka was no tortured soul - he was a clubber with a penchant for porn. Excavating Kafka is undeniably an exhilarating read."

           James Walton The Telegraph 16 August 2008.