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Discovery of Franz Kafka’s Porn Stash Sparks Furore in Literary World

by Gopalan on August 18, 2008 at 11:13 AM
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Discovery of Franz Kafka’s Porn Stash Sparks Furore in Literary World

Franz Kafka, the celebrated literary enigma, had flirted with porn too, some bestial sex at that. A book on the discovery of Kafka's stash has sparked outrage among his fans.

James Hawes, a British expert on Kafka, has made public a stash of explicit pornography to which the eminent author had subscribed to.


"These are not naughty post-cards from the beach," Hawes said. "They are undoubtedly porn, pure and simple. Some of it is quite dark. It's quite unpleasant."

The collection includes pictures of a creature like a hedgehog performing oral sex and girl-on-girl action.

Hawes discovered it all in the British Library in London and the Bodleian in Oxford.

He believes Kafka kept his collection of erotic images in a locked box, even taking the key on holiday.

And he accuses admirers of the German-language writer of a "conspiracy of censorship" by omitting references to the erotica in other academic works about him.

He added: "Perhaps Kafka's biographers simply don't like the idea that their literary idol was helped out in this... way in the vital early stages of his career... Of the world's authors, only Shakespeare generates more PhDs, more biographies, more coffee-table books... Everything Kafka wrote, every postcard he ever sent, every page of his diary... is regarded as a potential Ark of the Covenant... Yet no-one has ever shown his readers Kafka's porn."

All the same Hawes, an Oxford graduate and university lecturer, emphasises his total admiration for the literary Kafkaesque genius who wrote brooding classics such as The Metamorphosis, The Castle and The Trial, and argues that these discoveries merely show Kafka as more human than the popular image. He believes that "suppressing" them detracts from sensible assessment of his work, and has even led to nonsensical evaluation.

Predictably other Kafka scholars are outraged. Writing on Spiegel Online, researcher Anjana Shrivastava described Dr Hawes as a "prude."

"To call the illustrated magazines he subscribed to as hardcore porn, is like comparing a poem by Heinrich Heine with an advertising slogan for McDonald's," she added.

Biographer Klaus Wagenbach was quoted as calling the British writer "some idiot ... who knows nothing about Kafka, but writes about him as if he did."

Dr Hawes's biography also challenges the enduring popular portrait of Kafka as a tortured and lonely figure, neglected in his own lifetime, stuck in a dead-end job and struggling to write. The true Kafka could not have been more different, he said, describing him as a popular and well-paid state lawyer whose writing was supported by a prominent literary clique. It was only towards the end of his short life in 1917 that TB was diagnosed, and his poverty only occurred near the end due to economic collapse after the 1914-18 War, Times Online reports.

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/ arts_and_entertainment/books/ article4446131.ece

Source: Medindia
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