By Elizabeth Boa
Boa's new study of Kafka relates gender to other facets of identity. She shows how Kafka, while exploiting such stereotypes as the New Woman, the Magna Mater, the Whore, and the assimilating Jew for literary raw material, undermined these stereotypes and rejected patriarchal attitudes of his period. Boa places Kafka's alienating images of the male body and fascinated disgust of female sexuality in context with the militaristic, racist, gender, and class ideologies of the early twentieth century. She draws on Kafka's letters to his fiancee and to the Czech journalist, Milena, to illuminate how he transformed the details of this reactionary world into the strange signs and devices which assure his place in the modernist canon.