Daniel Hartley (University of Leeds): “Franz Kafka, World Literature and Impersonality“

If you are interested, please register under the following e-mail address: elisabeth.herrmann@tyska.su.se. In return you will receive the pre-circulated reading material to be prepared. The workshop will be held in German and English.

On the workshop‘s content

This workshop will explore the uses and meanings of impersonality in the work of Franz Kafka. By framing impersonality as a multifaceted socio-cultural phenomenon of capitalist modernity and a specific set of literary innovations, it will attempt to read Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” and The Castle as complex reflections on the violent contradictions of bureaucratic impersonality. In particular, it will focus on those moments of institutional impersonality which remain paradoxically reliant upon – or perhaps even generate – powerful counter-processes of personalization. It will frame Kafka’s writings within the context of contemporary theories of world literature, from Pascale Casanova to Franco Moretti, paying particular attention to Kafka’s location within the world-system.

Dr. Daniel Hartley is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Societies at the University of Leeds. He is author of The Politics of Style: Towards a Marxist Poetics (2017) and coeditor of Emergent Forms of Life in Anglophone Literature (2015). He is on the comité editorial of the French online journal of Marxist theory Revue Période. He has published widely on Marxist theory and contemporary literature. His current book project, provisionally entitled Capital Personified: Impersonality in the Modern World-System, investigates the multiple political valences of literary impersonality in world literature across the long twentieth century.