This article examines Eduard Goldstücker's construction of his own vita through his complex engagement with Franz Kafka from 1963 to 1989. Archival documents about Goldstücker's trial and surveillance, found in the archives of the Secret Police in Prague, help us understand Goldstücker's readings of Kafka and his understanding of his own life through his readings of Kafka. Goldstücker gradually came to frame his own past in terms borrowed from Kafka's Trial while interpreting Kafka's writings as a commentary on totalitarianism. A close reading of his memoir, written in exile and therefore free of external political pressures, reveals that, rather than a means for a political critique of communism in general or Goldstücker's own involvement with communism, Kafka became a tool for self-evasion in Goldstücker's writing. This interpretation goes against the accepted Western reception of Goldstücker as a heroic, almost dissident, figure and contributes to a more nuanced narrative of the reception of Kafka's texts under communism as anticipating and critiquing totalitarian everydayness and as a simile for dissidence.
Research Article| February 01 2015
Veronika Tuckerová; Reading Kafka, Writing Vita: The Trials of the Kafka Scholar Eduard Goldstücker. New German Critique 1 February 2015; 42 (1 (124)): 129–161. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2824249
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