Cover

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Title page, Copyright

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

I would like to thank Henry Carrigan at Northwestern University Press for bringing this project under contract and thus into existence as a book, rather than my dissertation, which is how Kafka and Wittgenstein began ten years ago in Irvine, California. Speaking of which, my gratitude runs eternal for...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. ix-2

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Introduction: Why Kafka and Wittgenstein?

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pp. 3-12

Franz Kafka’s novels and stories have the dubious honor of being often and hastily relegated to the confines of a single adjective that is supposed to evoke both the necessary uniqueness and slippery indescribability of its namesake. Though it may be unfair to the twentieth century’s best-known German-language...

Part One: Logical Modernism: Kafka and the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

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Preface to Part One. Logic, Skepticism, and Mysticism

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pp. 15-38

The Tractatus Logico- Philosophicus (also rarely called Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung in German), fewer than ninety pages long, is the only book Wittgenstein published in his lifetime. And yet, as P. M. S. Hacker has put it, this “masterpiece” is responsible for nothing less than “chang[ing] the face of...

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1. The Trial and the Law of Logic

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pp. 39-54

If I am to make a case that logical modernism belongs with modernist studies as much as, for example, psychoanalytic modernism, postcolonial modernism, or Marxist modernism does, the primary case I must make is one on behalf of the relevance to literary study, and to Kafka’s work in particular...

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2. The Metamorphosis and the Limits of Metaphorical Language

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pp. 55-84

In The Trial, what seemed to be a nonsensical persecution actually revealed a truly unshakable law: that of symbolic logic.¹ Not that this helped K. at all, for instead of proving himself innocent, he ends up chastised for not understanding that a bipolar innocence/guilt structure is irrelevant to his...

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3. “The Judgment,” Ethics, and the Ineffable

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pp. 85-106

So far, rather than solve two of the problems that have faced Kafka readers for a century—Josef K.’s guilt, what Gregor Samsa’s body “means”—we have, in the spirit of Wittgenstein, dissolved them by uncovering the illusions that came with the posing of each one. In the case of The Trial, the illusion...

Part Two: Analytic Skepticism: Kafka and the Philosophical Investigations

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Preface to Part Two. Wittgenstein’s Transition and a More Analytic Kafka

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pp. 109-112

The philosophical component of the following chapters marks an important transition from the “early” Wittgenstein to the “later,” and thus a further development of what I call analytic modernism. As I have discussed in this book’s introduction, after the Tractatus’s publication, a disgruntled Wittgenstein...

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4. The Castle and the Paradox of Ostensive Definition

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pp. 113-136

Just as most criticism of The Trial addresses Josef K.’s guilt, and the majority of examinations of The Metamorphosis and “The Judgment” concentrate on Gregor’s metaphorical meaning and the reasons for Georg’s jump respectively, the scholarly canon of Das Schloß (The Castle) often returns to variations on...

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5. Rule-Following and Failed Execution: “In the Penal Colony”

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pp. 137-166

If the Philosophical Investigations ended after §43, Wittgenstein’s brevity would usher in both good news and bad. The good news: Wittgenstein would finally have presented us with a theory of language with no caveats. With the meaning of language now definitively determined through its use, the...

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6. The Private Language Argument and the Undermining of “Josefine the Singer”

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pp. 167-192

I have just argued at length that Kafka’s conception of prose narration, at least as expressed in “In the Penal Colony,” is highly skeptical to the point of Pyrrhonianism: that is, the officer’s act of apparent self-sabotage is itself unmasked as highly questionable, thus revealing that the very act of alleged...

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Concluding Thoughts: The Problem with (Critical) Progress

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pp. 193-196

In the preceding chapters we have used the laws of logic to determine why, exactly, understanding something correctly and misunderstanding it are not mutually exclusive, and why this assertion is so important to The Trial; later, using Wittgenstein’s “say/show” distinction, we have seen our conception of...

Notes

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pp. 197-212

Works Cited

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pp. 213-218

Index

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pp. 219-220