Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

The Truth about Sancho Panza by F. Kafka in the Aspects of Humanization of Myth: Participation of F. Kafka in the Trickster Tradition of J. W. Goethe and Th. Mann

Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

The Truth about Sancho Panza by F. Kafka in the Aspects of Humanization of Myth: Participation of F. Kafka in the Trickster Tradition of J. W. Goethe and Th. Mann

Article excerpt

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The Truth about Sancho Panza, a laughter novel by F. Kafka (1917), "a little prose piece which is his most perfect creation" (Benjamin, p. 139) holds a specific place in his enormous artistic heritage1.

For instance, it is characterized by a happy ending almost unimaginable in the works by this author2.

Moreover, The Truth about Sancho Panza is an implicit yet a laughingly convincing development of a happier version of the mythologem of Job, which also seems implausible at first.

This conclusion (which is to be subsequently confirmed), in its turn, prompts us to ask the following question, "What can be said about the great works of European literature which include clear reminiscences of the Book of Job?"

It has been stated that both Faust (1808) by J.W. Goethe and Joseph and His Brothers (1943), a tetralogy by Th. Mann, also develop a happy ending in relevant reminiscences widely using the means of laughter. Therefore, the great European literature consistently comprehended the Book of Job in both creative and laughter manners.

This research brought us back to the Book of Job itself, prompting the following suggestion: its conventional concepts do not correspond to its original interpretation the mythologem was created for. It should be taken into account that these concepts result from the humanity's millennial pondering over this mythologem. Such prominent thinkers as S. Kierkegaard, C.G. Jung, etc. are listed only among the authors of the most "recent" centuries.

Hence, as we verify our assumption of the Book of Job, we could only hope for success if we apply a special approach to the mythologem and /or special tools never used before.

For this purpose, we have applied the concept of humanization of myth3. (It has been developed by us in order to identify the basic harmonizing regularities of mythological consciousness).

As a result, the following fact has been revealed:

* The original interpretation of the mythologem of Job is far from the widespread concept related to it. In particular, it did not originate as a theodicy (the justification of God), and had a true happy ending in this different capacity.

* Interpreting the mythologem of Job, the great European literature definitely treads the path marked by the mythologem itself in its initial interpretation specified above.

Let us demonstrate it below, applying the author's concept of humanization of myth. (The research of the mythologem of Job is presented in a rather abbreviated form; a whole range of aspects shall be omitted here).

The components of the concept shall be characterized as needed. Let us mention the following to begin with:

* One of the basic notions of the concept is a totem / non-totem dichotomy (discovered by Olga Freidenberg4; extrapolated by us taking the Axial Age by K. Jaspers into account).

The totem is everything consubstantial to the individual essence (life, love, generosity, kindheartedness, sensual pleasures, universal harmony, good, true ethics, etc.).

At the same time, a non-totem is everything opposed to the individual essence (death, betrayal, torture, feeling abandoned by God, eternal separation from the loved ones, physical and mental torments, etc.).

* Harmonization of the Universe by a mythological consciousness, or humanization of myth is implemented as maximizing and revealing the totem while abolishing the non-totem. For this purpose, in particular, such constants of humanization of myth as the myth of laughter and the myth of non-totem-death's abolition are applied (both shall be explained below).

Let us identify the image of the world shaped by the story by Kafka.

In particular, we have to consider the way the narrator, the protagonist, and the Universe prefer to act.

As the text is lesser known and short, we shall reproduce the story titled The Truth about Sancho Panza entirely. …

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