Schriftkerben // Kerfs of Writing A Phenomenology of Kafka’s Stylus

This essay investigates a specific notion and practice of writing that may explain and make sense of: a) certain graphic features of Kafka’s handwriting (Part 1); b) several „conceptual” remarks about his “intransitive” way of writing (Part 2); c) some narrative texts, most notably “Ein Traum” and the Hunter Gracchus fragments (Part 3). Considering the connection of these three elements, which intertwine in an exemplary way in Kafka, the essay proposes a new perspective on the aesthetics of Kafka’s “style”—namely, the practice of what will be described as “fetishistic inscription” and subsequently explored in its poetological relevance. The attempt to excavate a moment of identity, that is to say, an essential belonging-together of the threefold nexus, marks the phenomenological method of the investigation. Finally, the exemplary relationship between graphics and notions of selfhood in Kafka may enable us to glimpse a fundamental modality in which subjects relate to their script (Part 4). (CJ)