Kafka’s Messages

Galili Shahar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reading Kafka's literature today, in Jerusalem/Al-Quds, presents us with a challenge. Reading Kafka ‘here and now’, following his ‘messages’, concealed in his prose, notes and letters, demands us to engage anew with our traditions. It calls us to reconsider the legacies of Kafka's own literature, revising European modernism, while studying Talmudic and Kabbalistic texts, learning Chassidic tales and reading Arabic and Persian stories. A ‘Kafkan’ reading thus demands a permanent interruption in our fields of study, reflecting the very idea of Studium (studying, Talmud). Kafka's Messenger, who carries with him—on an endless path—the secret of literature, invites us to a journey, a path of studying that spreads into a Eurasian map of readership. This method of reading, namely a reflection about ‘the way’, is perhaps the first (and most significant) lesson of Kafka's readers. Our own (rather short) journey will follow the figure of a Messenger, as it appears in Kafka's story ‘An Imperial Message’, turning, however, to the Talmudic legend and the Chassidic tale, and to a Sufi Persian epic poem, in a search for a proper echo of the untold secret. This study reflects not only the possibilities of the comparative approach but also the radical, ‘messianic’ potential, being kept on the paths of Kafka's writing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-38
Number of pages5
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


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