Kafka & The Human Zoo

I have begun to re-read Kafka with greater interest than before. Right now I’m immersed in “The Trial.” Mark Christian Thompson, a professor at John Hopkins University, suggested that one of the very keys to understanding Kafka’s concept of the modern artist is through an understanding of Blackness vis-a-vis modern (Western or Westernized) society…

I have had his books on the shelf for some time and always knew there was something to him. As for Professor Thompson’s take on Kafka’s “Negritude,” the link to his book is at: http://www.nupress.northwestern.edu/content/kafka%E2%80%99s-blues

Ronald Thomas West

Human_Zoo

Throughout the late 19th century, and well into the 1950′s, Africans and in some cases Native Americans, were kept as exhibits in zoos. Far from a relic from an unenlightened past, remnants of such exhibits have continued in Europe as late as the 2000′s. Above photograph is from Brussels, Belgium in 1958

I stumbled, quite inadvertently, across an interesting, complete misreading of Franz Kafka’s “A Report to an Academy” by those ivory tower ensconced pundits that so love to interpret (project themselves into) the working of a great mind.

Kafka’s short story is of an ape captured in Africa and details (in the ape’s own words) the process of his assimilation to European culture.

According to the several pundits:

Walter Herbert Sokel has suggested that the story speaks to a conflict “between internal and external continuity in the ape’s existence”

Nicholas Murray briefly suggests in his 2004…

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