Kafka's Clothes: Ornament and Aestheticism in the Habsburg Fin de Siècle / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Oxford University Press
56.0 In Stock
"One should either be a work of art, or wear one," proclaimed Oscar Wilde at the end of the nineteenth century; "I am made of literature, I am nothing else, and cannot be anything else," Franz Kafka declared a decade later. Between these two claims lies the largely unexplored region in which the European decadent movement turned into the modernist avant-garde. In this original historical study, Anderson explores Kafka's early dandyism, his interest in fashion, literary decadence and the "superficial" spectacle of modern urban life as well as his subsequent repudiation of these phenomena in forging a literary identity as the isolated, otherworldly "poet" of modern alienation. Rather than posit a break between these two personae, Anderson charts the historical continuities between the young Kafka and the author of The Metamorphosis and The Trial. The result is a startlingly unconventional portrait of Kafka and Prague at the turn of the century, involving such issues as Jungendstil aesthetics, Otto Weininger's "egoless" woman, the Viennese critique of architectural ornament, the clothing reform movement, anti-Semitism, and the question of Jewish-German writing.