Abstract

Abstract:

Against prevalent interpretations of Jorge Luis Borges's and Franz Kafka's works as illustrations of entrapment or celebratory postulations of unrestrained infinity, this article argues that Borges's engagements with Kafka elude both extremes by staging contradictions internal to the structure of the proper, from imperial sovereignty to cultural patrimony. This article begins with Borges's account of Kafka's "On Building the Chinese Wall," in which the construction of empire is described as infinite subjugation, infinitely deferred, akin to Babelic dispersion coinciding with the construction of the Tower of Babel. The article then examines Kafka-inspired constructions of the proper and their internal difference and deferral in Borges's "On Exactitude in Science," "The Wall and the Books," and "Kafka and His Precursors."

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-2978
Print ISSN
0084-3695
Pages
pp. 2-21
Launched on MUSE
2020-06-21
Open Access
No
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