Activities

Kafka and Short Modernist Prose

International symposium, St. John's College, Oxford
29. September 1. October 2008

To commemorate the 125th anniversary of Franz Kafka's birth the Oxford Kafka Research Centre has organized a conference on Kafka's short prose works and on the range of short prose genres developed in German modernist literature.

The genre terms Kafka uses establish his distance from conventional genres such as »small prose« (kleine Prosa), the novella (Novelle), novelette (Novelette), sketch (Skizze), study (Studie), mood-picture (Stimmungsbild), prose-piece (Prosastück), grotesque (Groteske), humoresque (Humoreske) or prose poem (Prosagedicht); hence critics have resorted to less familiar terms such as Gleichnis‹, Parabel‹, or Denkbild‹. In particular, his unusual term little tale‹ suggests a desire to separate himself from the institutions of literature which is also apparent from his famous »notes on small literatures« of 1911. We hope that Kafka's oblique relation to literary genres may offer a new means of access to his art.

Besides approaching Kafka through genre, the conference will to raise the wider question how far this fluidity of short prose forms was a stimulus to innovation and experiment in modernism. In the German-speaking world, important writers of Modernism use a wide range of short prose types, which historically can be grouped roughly into three periods: Turn of the Century, Expressionism, and Weimarer Republik. German modernist authors discussed will include Nietzsche, Hofmannsthal, Robert Walser, Döblin, Benn, Musil, and Broch.

 

Programme

Monday, 29. September
08.30 Welcome
 I. Introductory reflections
09.00 RÜDIGER ZYMNER (Wuppertal): Kafkas kleine Prosa‹ im Kontext der Klassischen Moderne
09.30 DIRK GOETTSCHE (Nottingham): »Geschichten, die keine sind«: Minimalisierungen und Funktionalisierungen des Erzählens in der Kleinen Prosa um 1900
10.00 Discussion
10.30 Coffeebreak
 II. Kafka's short prose
11.00 GERHARD NEUMANN (München): Aphorismus Anekdote Parabel: Zur Gattungsbestimmung von Kafkas Prosaminiaturen
11.30 RITCHIE ROBERTSON (Oxford): »Ich« and »wir«: Singular and Collective Narrators in Kafka's Short Prose
12.00 Discussion
12.30 Lunch
14.30 JULIAN PREECE (Swansea): Kafka's Letters to Felice and the Tradition of the ›Brautbrief‹
15.00 CAROLIN DUTTLINGER (Oxford): Between Alertness and Paranoia: Kafka’s Poetics of Attention from Betrachtung to Der Bau
16.00 Discussion
16.30 Coffeebreak
17.00 MANFRED ENGEL (Oxford): Beschreibung eines Kampfes: Narrative Integration und phantastisches Erzählen
17.30 BERND AUEROCHS (Saarbrücken): Von den Gleichnissen und von einiger anderen jüdischen Prosa
18.00 Discussion
  
Tuesday, 30. September
 III. Modernist short prose
09.00 STANLEY CORNGOLD (Princeton): Aphoristic Form in Nietzsche and Kafka
09.30 WOLFGANG RIEDEL (Würzburg): Hofmannsthals Erzählungen im Blick auf Kafka
10.00 Discussion
10.30 Coffeebreak
11.00

FLORIAN KROBB (National University of Ireland, Maynooth): Parody in Turn-of-the-Century Short Prose

11.30

ANNE FUCHS (Dublin): Why smallness matters: Smallness, Attention and Distraction in Kafka's and Walser's Short Prose

12.30 Lunch
14.30

DAVID R. MIDGLEY (Cambridge): The Early Fiction of Alfred Döblin: The Short Story Between Case Study and Parable

15.00

ANTJE BÜSSGEN (Louvaine): Gottfried Benns Konzeption ›absoluter Prosa‹

15.30 Discussion
16.30 Kafka manuscripts at the Bodleian
  
Wednesday, 1. October
09.00 MORITZ BASSLER (Münster): Unter dem Kafka-Massiv: Unterwegs zu einer Typologie expressionistischer Kurzprosa
09.30 ANDREAS KRAMER (London, Goldsmith College): Entgrenzte Moderne: Kafkas ›kleine Prosa‹ im Kontext des Expressionismus
10.00 Discussion
10.40 Cofeebreak
11.00 MONIKA RITZER (Leipzig): Spiegelungen: Zur Relativierung von ›Realität‹ in der Kurzprosa Kafkas, Musils und Brochs
11.30 Discussion
12.00 Closing Discussion
13.00 Lunch

Congress venue

New Seminar Room, St. John's College

Accommodation for speakers

St. John's College, St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JP (www.sjc.ox.ac.uk/)

Conference fee (for guests)

£ 20 (reduced fee for students: £ 10)

Contact

manfred.engel@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk or ritchie.robertson@sjc.ox.ac.uk