Abstract: This article is an analysis of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges’s short text “Kafka and His Precursors.” Although appearing to be an example of literary . Jorge Luis Borges – Kafka and His Precursors. Link to an essay by Jorge Luis Borges (translated by James E. Irby). “Kafka and His Precursors”. Everything and nothing: On Jorge Luis Borges’s “Kafka and His Precursors”. Romance Quarterly 57 (2)

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A moving object at A declares Aristotle cannot reach point B, because it must first cover half the distance between two points, and before that, half of the half, and before that, half of the half of the half, and so on to infinity; the form of this illustrious problem is, exactly, that of “The Castle”, and the moving object and the arrow and Achilles kaffka the first Kafkian characters in literature.

A man has, or believes he has, a famous friend. This story is, as one can easily see, the ad reverse of the previous one; in the first, the city is never left; in the second, it is never reached. The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors.

Notify me of new comments via email. The man asks, in the last line: This observation precedes Borges and this text, and so confirms what is now his repetition of what can present itself as an established fact. Twitter Facebook Google Print.

“Kafka and His Precursors” | Posthegemony

Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Then someone places these traits in doubt and the handwriting experts declare that the letters are apocryphal. The first is Zeno’s paradox against movement. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: But Borges also suggests that such apparent oddities or impossibilities are remarkably common, even quotidian: The spiritual affinity of both writers is something of which no one is ignorant; what has not kafkq been brought out, as far as I know, is the fact that Kierkegaard, like Kafka, wrote many religious parables on contemporary and bourgeois themes.


The early Kafka of “Betrachtung” is less a precursor of the Kafka of somber myths and atrocious institutions than is Browning or Lord Dunsany. The poem “Fears and Scruples” by Browning foretells Kafka’s work, but our reading of Kafka perceptibly sharpens and deflects our reading of the poem.

Jorge Luis Borges – Kafka and His Precursors

It is also strangely located in hiss An invincible army of warriors leaves an infinite castle, conquers kingdoms and sees monsters and exhausts the deserts and the mountains, but they never reach Carcassonne, though they once glimpse it from afar. Notify me of new posts via email. He has never seen this friend and the fact is that the friend has so far never helped him, although tales are told of his most noble traits and authentic letters of his circulate about.

This is the paragraph, mysterious precursoes calm, which I marked: In the critics’ vocabulary, the word “precursor” is indispensable, but it should be cleansed of all connotation of polemics or rivalry. Maybe Hegel strikes again? It is an intervention between the plan and its execution, between intention and act. What is the relationship between remaking and distorting? Lowrie, in his “Kierkegaard” Oxford University Press,transcribes two of these.

We have the guilty mind mens rea but not the guilty act actus reus. But we do not know what the unicorn is like. In such conditions, we could be face to face with a unicorn and not know for certain what it was. The subject of the other parable is the North Pole expeditions.

This strange invocation of legal discourse might suggest that some wrong-doing is afoot, or that we are hearing some kind of confession. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future. The crime was averted, perhaps because some flaw was found in what was otherwise a perfect plan.


At first I had considered wnd to be as singular as the phoenix of rhetorical praise; after frequenting his pages a bit, I came to think I could recognize precursor voice, or his practices, in texts from diverse literatures and periods. Danish ministers had declared from their pulpits that participation in these expeditions was beneficial to the soul’s eternal well-being.

In each of these texts we find Kafka’s idiosyncrasy to a akfka or lesser degree, but if Kafka had never written a line, we would not perceive this quality; in other words, it would not exist. In the second text which chance laid before me, the affinity is not one of form but one of tone. Email required Address never made public.

Even children and village women know that a unicorn constitutes a favorable presage. One is the story of a counterfeiter who, under constant surveillance, counts banknotes in the Bank of England; in the same way, God would distrust Kierkegaard and have given him a task to perform, precisely because He knew that he was familiar with evil. We know that such and such an animal with a mane is a horse and that such and such borgess animal with horns is a bull.

September 4, at 7: This second fact is more significant.

The other is entitled “Carcassonne” and is the work of Lord Dunsany.