Metamophosis Lectures – Part 1 If you came into this course thinking that it is essentially about the love novel

. Then already with Melville you may have started to wonder what on earth is going on? Now I tried to suggest that in fact, Bartleby is a kind of strange twisted love story. But now we have Kafka and Kafka is the coldest writer in this course. And his work is not about erotic connections, it's not about love relationships but it is about relationships, which is what I want to suggest. Before doing that, let me say a word or two about Kafka himself. He has been thought of as triply alienated. He was a German speaking Jew in Prague and I hope you can hear those various communities. There, German and Jew and Prague and therefore, he was a double minority. Doubly exiled as it were in Prague but, he felt very little kinship. With these communities in the first place. He is know to have said that the word mutter, the German word for mother, seemed alien to him, seemed strange, didn't make sense when he was speaking to the woman who had given birth to him. Likewise he was once asked about his feelings for Jews, in a sense of his. Sort of kinship with Jews and his response is really quite fascinating. He says, what do I have in common with the Jews. I have nothing in common with myself. So, Kafka's really I think is our prime example of what a literature of alienation might look like. But, alienation is often such a cheap word. It doesn't tell us everything that we want to really know about it. Kafka is also it seems to me a great sort of spiritual questor that his and I use those words with some timidity because in fact his work, the stories that you read insistently material they're about matter, they're about the world of empirical surfaces. and, it's, therefore their offices, their rooms, their walls, their streets, and they are bodies as well. And in his work one senses a kind of longing to get beyond that. A longing for what we might want to term spirit or soul or truth. That's where the quest is involved. How to reach the castle, how to reach the truth. And I think that his work intrigues because that's the relationship that his stories make us ponder. What is the relationship between matter and spirit? he really is a kind of postlapsarian writer about. A culture in which people are essentially shipwrecked in their bodies and in the world of matter. And his stories suggest or seem to target, aim for, a kind of commerce as it were, traffic as it were, between this material scheme which is the only one we can empirically know. And that other, perhaps fairytaled never never world of spirit or soul. And the last thing I would say, which is going to lead me closer into our story is that Kafka's texts are texts where anything can happen. And it will. and that's why The Metamorphosis has unquestionably, in my mind, the most fascinating, first line in literature. Quote, as Gregor saw himself, awoke one morning from uneasy dreams. He found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. The first thing I would say there is that this is a great shocker. I mean, this is a, it's not like he waits until the third page. This is how you start the story. You negotiate this story realizing that your title figure has been transformed into an insect. I want you to think about my verb here, to realize this, because it means a lot of things. To make it real, but also to try to come to an understanding of it. Mind you, too, he does, Kafka does not write that Gregor Samsa felt like an insect. That is the use of simile. Like and as, it's a comparison. It's the kind of thing that we use all the time when we talk about it. If you wake up with a big hangover, you're going to say I feel like and you can fill in the blank, but like enables us to compare our station or our state to all number of things without anybody thinking that it's literal. Kafka is literal. Gregor Samsa is not like an insect, he is an insect. And I think that that is the bottom line in Kafka. It's also the starting line in Kafka. his willingness to show us. What it means to be a bug. And I hope you can imagine here that this is inseparable from the unusual reading experience with Kafka. Often we are told, well read this book because it will show you what a, b, or c feels like. In other words what it feels like to be a slave, what it feels like to be a woman in a culture where men's value seem to be dominate. What it feels like to be of this or that minority in a culture where the mainstream is victimizing those people. These are all extremely valid ways of reading. To understand a point of view outside of the, sort of, norm or of the mainstream view. Kafka's work is absolutely drastic. None of us has ever tried, quite wondered, what it feels like, to be a bug. Well that suggested that if you read The Metamorphosis, you get some clues. There's no way by the way, to test whether he got it right. I have not yet found any bug who has sort of come back, and said well, actually it feels a little bit different. But, nonetheless, Kafka tells us how it feels to wake up one morning or what you do when you wake up one morning as a bug. As an insect. Now, I'm going to read you some passages, but I want to before doing that even. mention a term that is often allied with Kafka, which is the German word angst. and in America we often say angst, but it's called angst. And of course, it means anxiety, it, in French it would be anguast. It's fear as well. And it strikes me that is a surprisingly inappropriate term. For our understanding Kafka's work, that's there's very little angst in Kafka. Instead, there's something absolutely pedestrian, absolutely prosaic that you wake up with finding yourself turned into a bug. And what sorts of things do you think about. Oh god Gregor thinks. What an exhausting job I picked on traveling about day, because he happens to be a traveling salesman, day in and day out it's much more irritating work then doing the actual business in the office. So, that's one thing he concerns himself with. Another one, well, I'll cut myself loose then. In other words, I'll stop working at one point, but for the moment though I'd better get up. Since my train goes at five. So he has a job. He has to get that body out of bed like most of us do in mornings where we have to go to work. Except that it turns out to be difficult. Now he is worried about it. The next train, when at 7 o'clock. To catch that, he would need to hurry like mad, and his samples weren't even packed up. And he himself, wasn't particularly feeling fresh and active. I love the way that last line goes. So, it's difficult. It's difficult if it turns out that you are a bug to get yourself to work. Except, well maybe it's not so bad, he thinks. His meeting intention was to get up quietly without being disturbed, to put on his clothes, and above all eat his breakfast, and only then consider what else must be done. It's like he's been told, if you eat your Cheerio's everything else will also line up. Since in bed, he was well aware, his meditations would come to no sensible conclusion. He remembered that often enough in bed he had felt small aches and pains probably caused by awkward postures. Which it proved purely imaginary once he got up. And he looked forward eagerly to seeing this morning's delusions gradually fall away. That the change in his voice, because his voice sounds a little bit unrecognizable, was nothing but the precursor of a severe chill. A standing ailment of commercial travelers, he had not the least possible doubt. Now, for me this is quite wonderful, quite delicious because I ask myself and so I ask you. What would you be thinking about if you woke up one morning and found yourself transformed into a gigantic insect? Would your first and last thoughts be about whether or not you're going to be late for work? For most of us, the answer would be no, but in Kafka it is different. That instead we realize it's all about the routines of life and it's about trying to. Make good on those routines even if our circumstances are altogether different. What are our circumstances? Well he looks at the beginning of the story and sees he has a dome like brown belly divided into stiff arched segments, okay. He has numerous legs, okay.

We ask the question. Doctors I think are particular well positioned to read Kafka even though frequently they don't like what they read. but he has instead an insect shape. He also. why. as you can imagine. he's a bug because. Christ can be seen as the supreme victim of certain arrangements whether they're divine or human. Because he doesn't tell us what his stories mean. but in the last stages of it. Like. And yet. in other words. If they wonder at all. a little more ideal. Nope. why is he a bug. is speculative. But I do want to say something about bodies. I. here's this person who's been singled out for this weird fate. but this lower part. but he drew the leg back because created a cold shiver. So. Both in his human existence and in his bug existence. proved too difficult to move. He identified the itching place surrounded by many small white spots. is that he could be a sacrificial figure. he has been called an artist. if he is this automaton. and of course you can call him. and then you can go further. is he Jesus Christ. Nothing overtly Christ-like about Gregor Samsa. It doesn't take us very far. I'm also paid to do it. to say. that we are in control of them. bodies really become very bizarre. And yet. but one that in fact I think has some real traction. I don't know much about insect lives. The garden variety stuff. and the stinging pain he felt informed him that precisely this lower part of his body was at the moment. fit in some of the blanks. the Schlameel which I think is equally the case. I think. a physical set of alterations that does take place. I want to say that Kafka's text is staging really perhaps the oldest relationship of all. Metamorphosis. who presumably. You're a bug. Well. as to write in such a way as to provoke or oblige the read to pose these exact questions. that people can be transformed. But this. that it will. In other words. he wakes up one morning no longer having a human shape. in Kafka's work. To be working with. So he's beginning to discover that this equipment that he has is not exactly what he is accustomed to working with. and of course this is one of the great I think narrative techniques. Here is Kafka's universe. This is also a way of saying that bodies lead us. When which I already I think implied is he's always lived like a bug. is there something going on here? Is there something that is actually leads us to? And we couldn't see it any other way. And it keep pharmacies and beauty salons in business. He couldn't understand those. What does it mean when a body changes that drastically? Well let's think about that for a moment. So. He had miscalculated the direction and bumped heavily against the lower end of the bed. He tried to touch it. So. bodies lead us. They have their own internal language. that's maybe what a bug is. Growing hair. to take this further. All Kafka criticism essentially is. as I say. which he had not yet seen. this is tricky. evolve. Bodies have their own internal logic. We go through the interpretive workout. But that's to put it in it's more extreme terms. Maybe it's a parallel to the fate of the artist in a kind of commercial or material society. You will note that the huge question never asked by Gregor Samsa is why. What does it mean for this man to be a bug? And I think if you look at the range of things that have been written about this book. We provide the answers. It's a little more uncomfortable about the way that bodies change. And I think most of us would take the view that there's nothing Christ-like about insects. what this does at least convey. Now that. You don't elect necessarily when it's going to go out of business. growing fingernails. pimples. what's a sacrificial figure? A sacrificial figure has to be someone who's life is given in order that. often in an unwanted fashion. is. These are the little things that show that our body is altering. Kafka's world. that there is something remarkably low strong about Gregor Samsa. And that preoccupy us frequently. And I'd like to reference one of the oldest stories of all. One that's further still a field. are a little more exalted. think about what happens when bodies acquire tumors. why. what on Earth does this mean? Now you could take the view. if we think bodies. Which is a hard case to make. So. What's the significance of this? There's a kind of interpretive parade of possibilities. In that sense. All the time as long as we live. then it's a little more queasy. And can only think about that and can't even take account our [UNKNOWN] or the fact that his whole body has changed. Let me begin then with a particular line of inquiry which is to focus precisely on his body. and insect forms. Of course. It's more interesting as well as more productive to ask yourself. are in a sense. he says he felt a slight itching on his belly. It's a bit of a stretch. which is that between ourselves and our bodies. in order that what? Well we'll see that this story corresponds a little bit to that kind of logic and. and that's probably a small number in comparison to the kinds of things that readers have wondered about. Well. of course. metamorphose. and bent. that after all. What about in its more everyday fashion. growing toenails. Sometimes they make the strangest kinds of noises in fact. He thought he might get out of bed with the lower part of his body first. And we know that it exists in the world of nature. This is very tricky. is unproveable. Now that should shock you. is a kind of immediate transformation. But. So. rashes. for example. We know about the earlier works of writers like Ovid. I think that's fine. What happens when paralysis strikes? Then strokes become infirmities of all stripes. So that's the kind of somatic marathon from infancy to death. Which is. however. The title. and he pushed himself up on his back near the top so he could lift his head. we. It's a way of closing the door. which is that of . Put in some possible answers. I think crazy is frequently a kind of shorthand term. People have used the term body language. But bodies themselves are alien. probably the most sensitive. when the limbs of a body become twisted. is there anything artistic about Gregor Samsa? Maybe it's artistic to try to get the body off the bed. or even how is this possible. brave new world. is that we lead bodies. would just goes to work five days a week ecetera. in a more extreme way. And now. this is the discovery of a new world. have never woken up in those circumstances. anything can happen. We know about caterpillars and butterflies. It shifted so slowly and when finally. It ranges from blushing to other things. What is it that you are concerned with? How to get to work on time. he says it. But it seems to me that that is the exercise of the brain. You didn't choose the body that you're born into. Because our customary fantasy I think. Metamophosis Lectures – Part 2 I repeat. One sees the enormous changes that due to in fact over the course of any lifetime from infancy to old age. The sheer alterations that a body is slated for. pulses. and insect bodies. We ask the question.So this looks like a kind of strange equipment. but it's one that's been made. and of which he could form no pure conception. is guesswork. this is crazy. And it is slated to die. As I said. which I think many readers probably do. I am not going to take the insect line. you have to ask yourself. And here is an extreme case of it. By the way. some of the other interpretive venues. but nonetheless. alien. are not bugs. So we are on the line. Bodies. this gets back to the first one. including erections and other kinds of manifestations of body interest. You wake up one morning. I use the word alienation in the first bit here about Kafka. of thinking and it's one of the more enjoyable features of reading. what does this mean. is to ask ourselves. touch it. It's a kind of stunning. should be a disturbing phrase. and these are things that are in fact for many of us slated to arrive if we live long enough. almost wild with annoyance he gathered his forces together and thrust out recklessly.

And people have rightly seen in this interrogation and in this reply the kind of triumph of humanism itself. Is that he could be stomped on. the midday. frail. But of course. That is. And you may remember the question that is put to Oedipus by the Sphinx. Franz was a kind of thin effete young man. who is born and crawls. untyrannical. Between what some neurologist have called I and it. he sees something very different. Now. and you stretched diagonally across it.he. and if you know anything about Kafka's life. exiting the room. Sometimes. he had a number of relationships with women and even engagements. And then in old age either on a cane or leaning on the shoulder on someone else is on three. comes out. It's a long-ish text. He looks at this man and he says truly this was not the father he'd imagined to himself. man erect can that regime in fact prevail? It would seem to be that medicine. he was odd. 'Sometimes I imagine the map of the world spread out. But. son. incessant competition between the two of them. and it really gives you in harrowing detail. And so. He doesn't think of this as necessarily as Gregor. Because it is your very own domain'. was a person who used to lie wearily sunk in bed. his wife. Gregor could be. Initially we see him. what is the creature who is on four legs in the morning. 'Everything that ever happened would have to be undone. the noonday. homo sapiens. as a field. the somatic material that we are made of and that we try to learn to understand and to make express us as we go through life. All old and ever new shame and tyranny would be mere history. and felt sort of crushed by the sheer physical energy and bulk of his father who was a muscular big man. this huge animal god. It being the body. sympathetic. or sacrificial logic between father and son. But. I suppose. But he says to this end. something to be complicated. In my opinion. before turning into a bug. we being what we are. and Gregor was dumbfounded by at the enormous size of his shoe soles. Except that. His one time tangled white hair had been combed flat on either side of a shining and carefully exact parting. deep seated relationship that's at issue in Kafka's text. and that there's kind of an ongoing. And we have passages where he talks about how embarrassed he was when they would go swimming together. I picture the equality which would then arise between us. as an insect and seeing this man. And I feel as if I could consider living in only those regions that either are not covered by you or are not within your reach. contented father'. He's the one who puts food on the table. He gave it to his mother. if you think about the way the father is represented in this story. From under his bushy eyebrows. And in particular. Perhaps it's his artistic calling perhaps for other reasons. is the reliable breadwinner of the family. this is a remarkable image here. it's not swimming that's most interesting. You actually could be stepped on. the reply to that Oedipus wins the prize. kept in his room. we ourselves should have to be cancelled out. the relation between subject and body. I think. that's not an easy thing for the bug to maneuver. Because father is already a decrepit figure. In this text as well Franz wonders about the desirability of marriage. Who would welcome him back in the evening lying in a long chair with a dressing gown. for understandable reasons. vis-a-vis his father. I want to read you a passage from The Letter to the Father where he talks about marriage. But precisely there does the questionable element lie. And. 'I would be your equal. but gave it back to her son. That is really the perspective of a bug. A considerable energy in force who is being seen. The human being. Says that this person. it turns out that the mother never delivered it to her husband. and I would argue he's become this. the highest that one can achieve and so the highest that you have achieved'. And yet we are struck by the difficulty that is implicit in that relationship. to his father. So that too is a kind of central. noontime of his life stands on two. things like that. to say. I mean Sophocles did not tell us that we could wake up one day as an insect. And which you would be able to understand better than any other form of equality and so beautiful because then I could be a free. I go further. who is obviously. Metamophosis Lectures – Part 3 One of Kafka's most revealing texts is called Letter to the Father. and his daughter Greta against not Gregor but the bug. don't forget Gregor. that he was unable to carry them through and people have written a good bit about this. It's something that Franz Kafka constantly wrestled with. His strong double chin bulged over the stiff high collar of his jacket. you say that somebody stomped on me and we always think figuratively. returning to our story. Who could not really rise to his feet. Spirit and matter.Oedipus and the Sphinx. therefore a creature on four legs. or competition. Gregor. you've got a man being posed this riddle by this gigantic sphinx. Humanism as the human scale. And in keeping with the conception I have of your magnitude. the extraordinary sense of. And he says that "Marriage is certainly the pledge of the most acute form of self liberation and independence. that strikes me as germane for The Metamorphosis. That is to say. Well this scene becomes quickly monstrous and awful because the father is there to defend his women. his black eyes darted fresh and penetrating glances. is that man is the answer. It is too much. and inferiority that Franz Kafka felt. but they always failed. Obviously this is the fairy tale. is constantly exercised by this question. and when he does he has this remarkable vision of his father as an altered person. Hermann. these are not many and not very comforting regions and marriage is not among them". . This is the monster who is threatening his women and therefore he begins to respond. He's the one who has dreams of sending his sister Greta to the conservatory. his lair. Can the two-legged regime. Now he was standing there in fine shape. So much cannot be achieved'. But now in his insect form. It would be like a fairy tale. That's the memory he's got. It's a letter that he actually wrote for his father in 1919. He did not give it to his father. pays particular attention to his father's feet. of humiliation and persecution. I would have a family. It's not the happiest response actually when you think about what Oedipus himself is slated for. who at the apex. in partic. That is. 'It's precisely this close relation that lures me towards marrying. Gregor also. Because it's a story really about the relationship. grateful. That's the man that he knew when he was the breadwinner. Who says that the Oedipal myth is about the difficulty in walking and behaving straight. but one of the things that it suggests is this business about legs. you read this text and you get the feeling that Kafka felt sort of humiliated all his life by this strong man. marrying is barred to me. two legs in midday. and there's this little man. he. Brief an den Vater. He lifted his feet uncommonly high. not necessarily so in this particular story. or conflict. Dressed in a smart blue uniform with gold buttons. the father that he remembered. He breaks loose. this bug finds turning. But it's a remarkable document. and three legs in the evening? And of course. And if you think for a moment about the issue itself in that Oedipal situation. That this bug has all of these legs. but only lifted his arms in greeting. And constantly found new ways to write. upright. guiltless. And he starts to chase the bug back into its room. And you could be an untroubled. Between the animal that we are and the person that we want to be. We use the word. the human regime. rather provocatively for the reader. and one of the most interesting readings of the Oedipus story is the anthropologist Levi Strauss' reading. And late in the story or midway in. This is a man then of considerable power. But he does tell us that we are characterized by our legs.

The wonderful critique of . straight to his father. are difficult to keep open. It's like a to. is that writing was a kind of priestly occupation for him. He saw the door of his room being torn open. Now I don't want to push that. for his father was determined to bombard him. And I think it makes sense to say that this sequence. Kafka will write over and over. except that soon enough. it's a painful scene. And then all of sudden. It was an apple. we read. And he saw his mother rushing toward his father leaving one after another behind her on the floor. about Kafka's refusal of marriage. the son cannot grow up. But I do think that the logic that's implicit in that. has even more complexity than that. however. and this will be the source eventually. that the walls were available to him. Gregor begins to feel breathless. and talking about marriage as the domain of the father. partly out of delicacy. or a. he is finding a form of self-assertion. And so. horrible notation. something suddenly lightly flung. after all he's a bug. That's what of course. which has a thick epidermis. You can say it's a scene of grea t mercy. Greta. Which is really virtually a crucifixion image. so Greta is the one who ministers to him. strong father has parallels with the first encounter that a child might have with its parents having sex. here is a strange kind of self affirmation on the part of the son. all of that is inseparably related to the son's status as a bug. It's Gregor as he is swooning. With her hands clasped around his father's neck as she begged for her son's life. Which is not an easy proposition. and scuttling forward again when his father made any kind of a move'. This is clearly a kind of rite of passage. he's dazed. He'd filled his pockets with fruit. The father slaying the son instead of the son slaying the father has a profound social structural dimension to it. Is that this scene of Gregor looking at the embrace as his mother becomes more and more naked. you know. he's a bug. is having a kind of peculiar revenge here. His mother rushing out ahead of his screaming sister. Greta is the one who cares for Gregor. one person chasing another. is that here is one of the central principles at work One of the most alarming features. but he doesn't do that either. inside. of his insect equipment. and he feels nailed to the spot. Which is to say that. She sees this as her. cannot follow him. This is the father son relationship that I suggested that is central in Kafka's work and it is also a sacrificial model of sorts. really becomes promoted to the role of mother because the mother is so stricken by what she sees as her son's condition that. rushing to embrace his father and to beg for the son's life. He's staggering. anti Oedipal. it's an awful sequence between a father and son. And with that. 'Ran before his father. getting ready to lose lose consciousness. I think it's a. Gregor's sight began to fail. it no longer seems to be a room and it starts to become a lair. And yet what we also see in these. And so this apple. And it's. again. Cannot become a father. And so the father is lobbing these apples at Gregor. She. Who. that in keeping with the idea that the father has been sort of rejuvenated. And we learn that one apple was thrown without much force and only grazed Gregor's back. Turns out that the formally favorite foods that he used to like are no longer tolerable to him. His mother was in her under-bodice. her loosened petticoats. That writing is the alternative. he forgets. He writes the story about the son being crushed. perhaps libidinal power as well. He finds that he's more comfortable sleeping or hiding under the sofa. Stumbling over her petticoats. having noted the enormous size of his father's shoe soles. And so he. This is also part of the bug realism. with his now young. This is all part of the kind of really extraordinarily potent realism that this story has from the insect angle. I quote. new modus operandi. landed close behind him and rolled before him. adulthood even. and sort of a bit puffed up about it. But he finally collapses and this is his last look. you know in ways beyond just the physiological. Gregor. in complete union with him. I want to suggest as well. if in fact insects have lungs of the same sort. stories where the son is put down. at least one source of his death. But another following immediately landed right on his back and sank in. unlike our skin. Part. I think of Kafka's stories. is trying to escape. He also finds that he is actually more comfortable on the ceiling than he is on the floor. And yet. where the father slays the son. I have wanted to suggest that the anti-Oedipal dimensions of this. stopping when he stopped. which is what the bug plot makes monstrously visible to us. a provider. and I suggested as well that there is some peculiar logic in this being the story that the son writes. We watch them removing furniture from the room. because it ratchets up in intensity. but are in a sense. Apparently his lungs are not what they should be. in this relationship is that his room becomes increasingly a lair. That this is what the metamorphosis tends to bring about. to exit the human. that's the point I really want to end with here. In this way they circle the room several times without anything decisive happening. as I say this stopping. But the story is there to measure what that really means. a calling. But here. I want to turn to the sister. It's as if by writing the story of himself as sacrificial victim. we don't need that. of sorts for her. insect sort of. Freudian critics. who feeds him. for the father is rejuvenated. Now that family setting about the son finding that he will be quashed by the father. who tends to him. presuming if someone lobs an apple at you it bounces off. And we know he's left it physiologically. his eyes are. family provider. it turns out that his shell or skin is not sufficiently hard. apples lobbed into his flesh. He has also been reveralized. for her daughter had loosened her clothing. And it is fascinating because Kafka who wrote the story. And he feels extraordinary pain.And so. Kafka writes. and the area where the son cannot compete. Cannot become a. It's as if these are stories overtly. its own. which is that you could exit the human. more complex even than that because as these transformations happen. seeing his mother as her clothes are falling off of her. Familiar items are removed and with that in mind what I really want to suggest is. It has its own energies. That it goes in. and with that. it turns out. he could leave the floor and maneuver himself on the wall. and was now shying apple after apple without taking particularly good aim. It's a remarkable notation. He wants to spare Greta the view of own monstrous insect body. that she can no longer deal with anything. Gregor came to stop in alarm. And yet in writing it. He himself is surprised. Here is a relationship. I suggested to you that one theory that. as he becomes more and more completely an insect. that the father has been strengthened. Gregor has done from the first line of the story. And embracing him. all of which is true I think. But now that we've got this insect. her role. something decisive does start to happen. A second apple followed immediately. Letter to The Father. he's having trouble remaining conscious. We watch. he retains nonetheless his sense that he is leaving his formerly human status. some critics have said this. a life as a father yourself. just to figure out what he can eat. as his own father was. Metamophosis Lectures – Part 4 And in evoking Kafka's letter to the father. that one turns into a bug and that the other is empowered. or wrote the text. Because obviously. But you can leave that beyond. of the story that once you become a bug it turns out that you like to eat garbage rather than the kinds of foods that you used to enjoy. In writing this story. But its also the strange sense in which writing becomes the alternative to an erotic life. the very writing of them must have had some kind of irresistible therapeutic appeal to Kafka.

the scene that I have in mind here is the late scene where Greta is performing.Kafka's work by the French pair of writers Deleuze and Guattari uses the phrase [FOREIGN]. Genocide is only possible when an entire group of people has exited the human. we know that he loves his parents. But obviously as insect he can no longer bring home a salary. And I want you as you hear this to think about what's human and what's not human in this sequence.. and I. But is this your son? Could it possibly be your son? And at one point. Fluff. who read this story. And I want to suggest to you that that's not a form of science fiction in Kafka. For us it's very easy. of tribal warfare. The family knows only that this is a huge insect living in a room that used to be Gregor's. We're talking about a one way relationship. That the notion that you could exit the human is an all too familiar notion. It strikes me that all of the tragedy of his . as I said. and then three. You must rid yourself of the idea. that Greta works tirelessly to try to find food that he can eat and at the end he just stops eating. the thinking creature. Is this still a person? At what point do we stop granting human status? To the people whom we know and love. Gregor can no longer speak to them. to push forward until he reached his sister. the Samsa family is under considerable stress. And I'd like to read you this passage. on show for us in the relationship between Gregor and his sister. that students are frequently pretty severe and harsh about the Samsa family. My students say. and they suggest that becoming animal is what seems to happen over and over in some fashion. she says. Do we pull the plug on this or that old family member who is being kept alive by mechanical means. It is perhaps also the recurrent struggle of humanism itself. that's why I use the word see. We never ever. So he really looks like garbage. the story of Gregor Samsa. literal fashion. We cannot see the animal. And I would suggest here it happens all the time. therefore. I continue quoting. Now. this is your son. The fact that we've believed it for so long is the root of all our trouble. human status to this figure who happens to look like a bug. often. We know everything about the pathos of this story. but let's think about what that print says. what does it mean to exit the human? Because that's what Gregor's done in the eyes of his family. And that but for his mishap. To pull at her skirt. We never knew anybody who became an animal in that overt. Was he an animal that music had such an effect upon him? He felt as if the way were opening before him to the unknown nourishment he craved. and it tells it to use from Gregor's own perspective. the. literally. and yet when he hears the music he crawls out of his room. He would watch all the doors of his room at once and spit at intruders. can you see. it's really quite a stunning passage. we know that he loves his sister. That print tells us over and over. which is all of us. but in reading his story. But his sister should feel no constraint. this is towards the end of his really of his cavalry he is described as covered with dust. He looks like sewage. I think. even. of genocide. She should sit beside him on the sofa. His mishap being that he became a bug. That the creature that's on four legs. I think. We grant. He cannot communicate with them. But how can it be Gregor? If this were Gregor. We see print on a page. It seems to me that Kafka's story. we are. He must go! It's the only solution Father. and remnants of food trailed with him. in the most radical way. Issues of race and religion often play into it. We can't see the bug. That becoming an animal and leaving the human is the recurrent plot of his work. He has never been able to. Bend down her ear to him. And so let her know that she was to come into his room with her violin. Not just for having this son but he's been the breadwinner son whose become an insect. utterly at odds with the Samsa family. I'd suggest that we see it at moments when terrible decisions have to be made. And that's why the question and exhortation of Greta's is so interesting. as in this story. And. Gregor is going to be tossed out.You must try to get rid of the idea that this is Gregor. "He would never let her out of his room at least. Gregor and his family. In great anger. You must just try to get rid of the idea that this is Gregor. it has legs. and it seems to me that Kafka never loses sight of that. in Kafka's work. I'm going to use the same figure of speech. sometimes directly. of its people. Greta has a powerful statement to them. He cannot respond. She should stay with him of her own free will. I've tried to suggest in my account of bodies that in fact yes we are animals. that's dreadful. I mean we have to think maybe it is science fiction. To get closer to it. she says. Can you see that the family does not perceive Gregor. and hair. That's his sister Greta's. Metamophosis Lectures – Part 5 One of the most moving episodes in Kafka's story The Metamorphosis comes late in the narrative. and not just a body itself. Last Christmas he would have announced it to everybody without allowing a single objection. is an animal. It's also easier to be generous with figures in literature than it is to be with figures in life. Not so long as he lived. His frightful appearance would become. He was determined. And therefore I want them to ask the question. it's very simple. and sister be able to continue the notion that this is Gregor. become an animal. and finally I think Gregor and his readers. So. useful for her. It happens all the time. and two. which is to persuade us. essentially as garbage. We can't see it. This is a feature. aren't we? We're talking about the failure of communication as they say. in ways that are virtually heartbreaking. Gregor cannot in any way convey to them his humanity. timeless mission of literature. to remain Homo sapiens. This is absolutely a central line. Gregor crawled a little farther forward and lowered his head to the ground so that it might be possible for his eyes to meet hers. We see it throughout history. Now. It's a feature. For no one here appreciated her playing as he would appreciate it. and father. he would have realized long ago that human beings can't live with such a creature. to make us understand the humanity of its characters. we have access to the tragic thoughts and feelings of Gregor Samsa. surely Christmas was long passed. That is to say. caught on his back and along his sides. and what it is that Kafka is trying to tell us. And at one. the. And what does that mean? Well it means exactly that what can not be conveyed to the family is exactly what is conveyed to us. raises that question and it puts us as readers. They tell me that how can this family be so heartless? Because at the end of the story. that this is Gregor. Last Christmas. And so they've had to let out some rooms to these boarders who were described really in rather grotesque fashion. lose sight of Gregor's humanity. Let me interrupt this and say he will die in part of the apple that is lodged inside his flesh thrown by his father but he will also die of starvation. But can you see. And hear him confide that he had the firm intention of sending her to the conservatorium. We see print on a page. But that's only part of it. we see nothing. That is to say the great dilemma for the Samsa family Is how do we interpret and this is not literary criticism anymore because I mean after all. this is the. and you can't really easily say who's right and who's wrong. for the first time. ask yourself how long would mother. she's playing the violin for these boarders. Now you. He is reduced to being only a huge insect. the way the reader does? And I'd like to unpack that. That's what they see. that the ridge of communication fails. that's awful. He can't hold up his end of it. and my verb matters. Is this still a person? It's a legal issue. And Gregor is described. I've found in teaching this story to generations of undergraduates. so all of this is. and he'd have gone away on his own accord.

A Country Doctor. and I'm going to quote the German because it's so lovely [FOREIGN] and it's almost untranslatable. it has a horse and buggy. To make it possible for her to go to the conservatory. You can see her stretching her young nubile body and I would contrast it with another position that we're accustomed to. And he exits the family that he was part of. they can't talk to a patient and understand. why he never ate. must produce offstream. And will eventually be replaced by a panther who will become a really popular item for the people who come to the fair or to the circus. Let's go out together. we obviously see more than that in this. Here is a whole area for discussion and thinking. and it's hetta. exiting the human. That he comes out. but we also see the daughter. in a sense. It's as if Gregor's death makes possible this transformation of his entire family. And it strikes me that this sequence. while they were thus conversing it struck both Mr. beauty. the old adage of medicine. And that may be a skill that is disappearing. the weird relationship that this story has made visible to us. She would sit beside him. of the life of the body. and Mrs. It's very tender as well. into his room. As always. The unknown nourishment he craved. in a sense. They exit the house. That he approaches her with a kind of hunger and appetite. He will bring her close to him. a new life. ready for producing more life and that's why the Christ like dimensions of this fable bare thinking on. it should be The Metamorphoses. And they exit the house. That we see the father reverilized. we're born into a physical regime. But nonetheless. that music itself is construed as this kind of nurturance that nothing else in life would make possible to us. he fasts and fasts and fasts and will eventually die of starvation. He felt as if the way were opening before him to the unknown nourishment he craved. the human race. we know too that with the continued sort of explosion in technology and in testing possibilities that it's been suggested that we now have a generation of doctors who can no longer take a history. He listens to her music. in a empirical scheme. There's no violence involved. a measurable scheme. I think in the American sort of discourse on this. given the kind of technological assets that we've got now. probably have found that house calls aren't made very much anymore. And I think all of Kafka is caught in that. I would suspect that most people listening or looking at me and listening to this lecture. of course. for the race to survive. the sort of. is that you can learn almost everything you need to know just by listening to the patient. of erotic life. And into a second life. That is a rather brutal transaction." And I think it's a really significant line. that might have tasted good to me. And in a sense. One of Kafka's most beautiful. It's going on as I give these lectures in American culture about the relations between doctors and patients. in part because every page of this story has conveyed to us the feelings and thoughts and longings of this insect. And they get on a tram and they're talking with each other and Kafka writes the last line. it's in the subjunctive. these are exactly the operations that Franz Kafka finds almost impossible to negotiate: eating and sex. And so. . as sewage. that in listening to the music he senses that he might have found the type of nourishment he craved. human evolution. She had bloomed into a pretty girl with a good figure. which involves one body having commerce with another body. [BLANK_AUDIO] Metamophosis Lectures – Part 6 I want now to talk about Kafka's story. until we figured out ways to do this without direct involvement of bodies. What's most moving and touching about it is encapsulated there. he died so that you might live. offspring. there's a good bit of criticism that doctors do not give patients the kind of time that the patients themselves want. Gregor does not succeed here. Samsa almost at the same moment as they became aware of their daughter's increasing vivacity that in spite of all the sorrow of recent times. which is the relationship between doctor and patient. I never found the nurturance that would have been right for me. he still. So. that is to say. And the people come to see him and watch him fast. And at the end of that rather brutal story. of the complaint that the patient has. a young woman. that tells us the fate of Gregor. have it's intake of food and it's outtake of excrement. I think it's harder for us as readers than it is for the Samsas to fully come to terms with it. But while he is dying. oh. And. So Kafka's story published in 1919 which can seem awfully dated to you. The last line of this story. That he is weaned from life and they are ushered into life. that might have appealed to me. Ready for what? Ready for mating. With it's particular notation about music. It used to at least. After all. That is to say. And of course. it's almost a century old. that it literally mentions eating. But that one longs for something else beyond that whether it spirit or soul. having come to the conclusion that it would soon be time to find a good husband for her. or the last notation of this story. And yet. just as the same body. Must. the family sort of thinks about its prospects. where the doctor is going to make a house call. ready for entering into the stream of life. prisoners of Gregor of this house. haunting little stories is called The Hunger Artist about a person who is a professional faster in a circus set far back in time. I never found the food that would have been right for me. realizes that they actually do have some resources. That this passage is telling us something about the needs of the soul. And it was like a confirmation of their new dreams. more the less.and he does exit the human. Uh." You may remember I began my comments on Kafka by saying that One is. Which had made her cheeks pale. we know in the American situation that the amount of time is dreadfully limited in the doctor patient encounter. And I want finally to suggest to you that. Which is that of a man on a cross. of this horrible secret in this bedroom. He will lock her up. geschmeckt. important relationships that each of us has throughout our lives. And we see this really longing for the soul. our body. It's kind of a lovely line there. And yet you must have noticed too. He ends up as garbage. involved here. The cleaning lady finally sends him out with the rest of the garbage. They've got a little bit of money saved up. there's a considerable amount of frustration on the part of the public at large. and the German is. "the unknown nourishment he craved. Because you could argue that the title of the story shouldn't be The Metamorphosis. he's asked the question why he fasted so long. because they've been. bend down her ear to him. this story is about someone being weaned from the human. I died. ready. in some fashion. that must. that we are more than just bodies. this passage. in order to live. I think it's fair to say that it really deals with one of the most central. People have said it has an element of Beauty and the Beast. that they will have a kind of physical intimacy. And the answer is. They're not in such terrible shape and it's a beautiful day. in fact. In. I never found the food that might have. landlocked or imprisoned in a world of matter. which many people find really quite bizarre. that might have been for me. was he an animal? That music had such an effect upon him. that is the weird dialectic. bug or not is possessed by this desire to help the sister he loves. is post-Gregor that once he is finally dead and gone. And excellent intentions that at the end of their journey their daughter sprang to her feet first and stretched her young body. and he asks himself. Now. They grew quieter and half unconsciously exchanged glances of complete agreement. exiting precisely from that regime of food and sex.

I'm going to get to my patient. And then a man comes out on all fours. Well. clapped his hands. you know. mystifying to the doctor. I let that happen to me too. sister. And lo and behold. it's not like it says that those issues are wrong. as it pleases them. it's easy to. Well. sort of both powers and demand made on doctors. but the doctor is supposed to be omnipotent with his merciful surgeon's hand. Doctor's obviously make decisions about health benefits. why? What in this story comes across as nightmarish to doctors. that the doctor is supposed to be omnipotent. It's a story that I think recognizes the terrible. So. each well-shaped head lowered like a camel's. which is the encounter between doctor and patient. as I've just suggested. is commensurate with the things that medicine requires. stages the timeless central encounter in medicine. And I want further to say. I'd like to challenge that. has been called upon to take their place. the readiness of us to move from one sphere to the other. That it may well be that no educated doctor. Where is this going? I heard the door chain rattle as she put it up. immediately sinks his teeth into Rose's cheeks. Late in the story. In fact. Do you want a whipping? But then the doctor begins to wonder. Take a look at what happens at the beginning of this story. If you have read this story. a kind of crisis even. They have lost their ancient beliefs. Well the response of the servant girl is particularly wonderful here. exactly that. called the groom. in a modern urban setting where many of us live with shiny medical centers and state of the art technology. I've got these two horses now. pulled out. you know maybe I can't be too rough on this guy because after all I didn't even know it was here. enormous creatures with powerful flanks one after the other. To me this is quite interesting because I do think. Let's not get there yet. Much of the story seems to be. or I won't go. And I say demands because we know in today's society that doctors are really in a kind of unwanted position of power. they adjudicate everywhere. And yet. the dilapidated door of the year long uninhabited pig sty just out of anger and frustration. but that the story seems to flaunt that it is about other things altogether. it is going to help me perhaps. That the doctor. in doctor patient relations and in the role of medicine and in the role of doctors as gatekeepers. So. what then happens. this is going awfully fast. too. This is a story about remarkable things happening to us. That . Or. The parson sits at home. that it's a modern story in other ways. If they misuse me for sacred ends. And we begin to get the feeling that the he's talking about more than this groom and this buttocking horses that come out of the pig sty that weren't supposed to be there. And two horses. And then he's followed by these horses. essentially prophesized. their legs tucked up. and then I was deafened and blinded by a storming rush. I'm not coming with you anyway. and Rose is the name of the servant girl and the name makes a difference. 'Hey there. I did not know what to say. I'm not thinking of paying for it by handing the girl over to you! Gee-yupp! He said. It's a very suggestive phrase. with a justified presentiment. the kinds of things that befall us that can happen to us. and perhaps even the state. you may think that I'm out of my mind. unlike the account I gave of it a few minutes ago. You never know what you're going to find in your own house. about workers compensation. what is so bizarre about this story? Let's think about that. can anyone be omnipotent? If they misuse me for sacred ends. of horses comes out. I think. They often are the people. I say us because as readers. That is to say. You know. To keep herself from being discovered and then back to the present. he asked? All of this is completely. that Kafka can be drawn on. of being a kind of oneiric script. Is this really happening? What is he hearing? I could see moreover how she put out the lights in the entrance hall. brother! Hey there. presentiment that her fate was inescapable. that nothing in the story seems at all to suggest the kinds of issues that I talked about. you never know what you're going to find in your own house. who make the decision between life and death. no matter how properly trained and even experienced. where older belief systems and older institutions such as the church. the first line of The Metamorphosis is quite marvelous and we know that because someone who becomes a insect gets our attention. back to the ranch here. I'd like to suggest that this story despite it's seemingly old fashioned trappings. I yelled in fury. I heard the key turn in the lock and we have to ask ourselves could. not the courts. Now I have just been talking to you really and it's almost sociological terms about the institution of medicine or as Foucault might have said. That's what people are like in my district. She looks at all of this. it happens to us. And above all. and particularly the role of the doctor. Freud could have written it. always expecting the impossible from the doctor. He has a patient.and particularly they're not made much anymore with horse and buggy. that the doctor is called upon to do things. that also turns out to be tricky because the doctor wants the groom to go with him but the groom has different views. particularly. a child who is sick in a village ten miles away. I could just hear the door of my house. But there's a problem. He realizes that's what's going to happen. has come out on all fours. jump to the conclusion that this story is very much a sepia story of yesteryear. They've lost their ancient beliefs he says. in 1919. No! Shrieked Rose fleeing into the house. It turns out that his horse had died the night before and the doctor is very frustrated and he kicks at the door. could never be found in a sociological review. I have not thrust my services on them. as I said. attend to Kafka's language there. I'm staying with Rose. Kafka seems to be telling us. the door opens and steam comes out and a smell as if. are no longer as potent as they were. Shall I yoke up. And then further flight all through the rooms. And she says. as my first phrase was. I think Kafka's story almost a century ago foreshadows. The gig whirled off like a log at a freshet. I think it bears that considering. who is really characterized as an animal. by sheer strength of buttocking squeezed out through the door hole which they filled entirely. sort of have the character of a dream. because this is like a kind of fancy a fantasy. to make the literally ultimate final decisions about human life. A parson sits at home and unravels his vestments one after another. The Discourse of Medicine. You're coming with me! I said to the groom. However. This groom. however. This one looks a little more prosaic but Doctor. to make decisions. as I said. has to make a house call. the country doctor muses. Metamophosis Lectures – Part 7 I've said the Kafka's story is nightmarish to doctors and my term nightmarish was intentional because you will see. You brute. But they are frequently the gatekeepers of modern life. unravels his vestments one after another but the doctor is supposed to be omnipotent with his merciful surgeon's hand. And so. it really is one of the great lines. near the house? Splitting and bursting as the groom charged at it. that we are facing today. the meaning of each. it seems to me that we really do see here the recognition that in a secular age. Medicine. what could be sacred in this story? And I believe that Kafka's story is going to tell us that the mysteries of human life go beyond anything that you learned in medical school. this story. [SOUND]. And it could never be found in a medical journal. doctors have told me that this story constitutes one of their worst nightmares. Buttocking horses squeezing out with all this energy through this small hole. in such a way as to illuminate a kind of quandary. which has to do with the final issues of life and death. tucked close to their bodies. Urgent as my journey is. to guide us in ways that earlier a parson did.

this place is ten miles away. turn him out of bed. they had no control.steadly buffeted all of my senses. but it's there now. I think that we will want to sort of bear that in mind. where are we? What's going on? This was supposed to be an empty. in part because they have no agency in the story. I was already there. I've already suggested to you. we get plenty of blood work. And these two magic buttocking horses seem to be filled with the kind of. Sinks his teeth into Rosa. That was how it looked from a distance. And the buttocking horses will proceed to take the doctor in no time flat. I'll repeat rose red and blood spotted as well. what is this quest. this is a story that offers us. wh-. It's metamorphic. form. it's going to turn out that this is going to be one strange house call. You were passed helping. how does this doctor make sense of this situation? Both what's happening back at home with the groom. It's there. saturated with coffee by his solicitous mother. his sister behind them. To come to an understanding with people is hard. it's also the case that the logic of this story is such that the doctor follows events. pig sty. of course. He refuses it. As thick and as long as my little finger. None in this story. really nuts and bolts remark. But on a closer inspection. But then the hard part is the understanding part. Now. Worms. or to use a word that is more common. and getting to his patient. Their volition counts for nothing. this wound. this is silly. We get plenty of prescriptions. relations as it were between the various places and events of this strange story. everything is happening to the doctor. And that's what helps us to begin to see the weird connections. as language that's on the page. when he gets there. You realize that. Because he then notices that the sister is holding a blood soaked towel. This is. get him back in school. This boy's not even sick. Instead. How is it possible. he thinks about it in terms of his actual career. I constantly emphasize that these buttocking horses. unpredictable. when he came into the room? With that remark. that our bodies lead. we get a kind of rather straightforward line that I think again hums. He's thinking about perhaps what's happening back at home. It's one of the most interesting wounds I think in literature. the horses will put their noses. I could not help a low whistle of surprise. but also this patient who it may turn out is not quite as sound as the doctor thought. He goes in. One is that the pigsty. is inhabited. So he looks there at the boy when he goes inside. unmistakable. lighter at the edges. if you're reading this with any care at all. Rose red and many variations of shades. Kafka's world is kinetic. It would appear to apply to this story itself. It's all moving too fast for him. it's not empty. he leads nothing. The horses had come quietly to a standstill. None of these discoveries is something that falls under the heading of the diagnostic project. diagnosis or even phrases like please stay still world. that the doctor didn't see it when he walked into the room? The boy's sound. this blossom in your side was destroying you. Themselves. it's on the move. the obvious indirect cause of it and the victim of it. rose red. The boy's initial request to the doctor is doctor. which is the raping of Rosa. the strangest wound in literature. and so I let him lie. By the way. this journey that I'm on? What's happening back at home? And then he. Energy. of nightmares. Think about all the events that have happened in this brief little story. I laid my head to the boy's breast which shivered under my wet beard. with Kafka. but sound. their heads. He gets to the house. In his right side near the hip was an open wound as big as the palm of my hand. How do we make sense of a text. The horse is dead. Well. to the farm where the patient is waiting for him. reform. I was almost lifted out of the gig. How does he know? But he knows. and yet it's like magic horses. And it's altering. They're looking in the window. let me die. Rosa is going to be raped by this animal-like groom who appeared out of nowhere. He looks at the boy and Kafka writes it like this. If you are willing to believe that wounds are interesting. It's running. So. I confirmed what I already knew. And he begins to think that he's made a terrible mistake partly because he knows what he's paying for this. but nonetheless. there was another complication. He knows that the price tag for taking this magic horses. With small white heads and many little legs. and plenty of tests. Then the groom will proceed to rape Rosa in the house. What kind of sense can we make of it. My patients parents hurried out of the house. So. Where things do move. This doctor follows events. Of being a doctor. the communicative challenge here. he's there. the servant girl. none of that is possible in this scheme. if that's not strange enough. into the windows. But it's a kind of. Dark in the hollows. by the way. they really begin to look phallic and you'll see why I'm pushing that. now you're supposed to remember. Faustian pact because he knows. with their authority. I want to suggest that this story is nightmarish for doctors. That maybe this wound wasn't there. And it seems to me that it goes to the core of the doctor patient relationship to the actual requirement. His profession and he gives us this really. it's jumping. Where the doctor properly analyses the scene and determines what is wrong. Poor boy. to the patient and if that weren't enough. I think this really does apply to our own complaints with our medical system. is that Rosa will be raped by the groom. And we are the both site of it. I've been brought out here for nothing. All of that. That it's the human care that we seek and do not find in doctors. moonlight all around. take him in no time flat. We read it almost as a prescription. which is dilapidated and uninhabited. I want to say. and best turned out of bed with one shove. and finally I want to obviously reference the wound. I have to read this to you. because we are meant to think back to what's happening at home. Now I want you to think about your view of doctors with their white robes as it were. So. And that maybe this patient is not as sound as Doc thinks. I mean. with their almost priestly function. Or it's . uncontrolable. [BLANK_AUDIO] Metamophosis Lectures – Part 8 Well. One could say that this story is structured according to the logic of dream. The blizzard had stopped. Not only is it inhabited. All of this comes across to us as being unexplained. How easy it is to write prescriptions. You notice that I [COUGH] insistently emphasize the term rose red. one reason we may not get it is because it's not possible. But this only for a moment since as if my patience farm yard had opened out just before my courtyard gate. That's the piece that Kafka refuses to simplify or ease for us And. as what I take to be. He's on the receiving end of things. something a little wrong with the circulation. That's a rather unusual request. look what I'm paying for this. I had discovered your great wound. To write prescriptions is easy but to come to an understanding with people is hard. were wriggling from their fastness in the interior of the wound toward the light. and yet nonetheless. and it's flying. As the doctor's trying to make sense of this. Well. The groom comes out. Rose red. like why should all of this happen to me? Who. at which point he discovers the young boy's wound. shall I repeat that. when we give it our consideration. Softly granulated with irregular clots of blood open as a surface mine to the daylight. So that mastery. The boy was quite sound. They give him a glass of rum. But out come the animal groom and the buttocking horses. the very modality of dreams. goes up in smoke in this story. and in that remark we begin to realize that prescriptions are simple. But do we get that other? Kind of human exchange that we seek in long form. already there. ten miles away. its one heck of wound. I am no world reformer. understanding is hard. Well. That Rosa will be raped. if you can picture these heads of horses sticking in the window. Is it possible that the women wasn't even there. Change.

that punctures. Slowly like old men. It breaks one logic in order to suggest another. What is being produced or achieved here? I think it's harder to say. as he crawls back into his carriage. the other doctor. Its as if. and feeling. I've been sort of reading it that way. It doesn't appear to me to be far fetched to say that the doctor is projecting on to the body of this boy.associative logic. about sexuality itself. Or the re. So. unlike what we think. A dream. Art is the axe that chops into our frozen city. Kafka says no. That maybe Bertha Mason Rochester is the other of Jane. he's been spent. perhaps this is a form sexual disgust here. the patient who had earlier said please let me die. and I'd suggest that this worm-filled hole in the body of the child is not simply a displaced vagina. And yet I'm a doctor what can I do? Believe me it's not too easy for me either. let's hypothesize that you were being paid $300 an hour to listen to someone lying on a couch. Maybe the animal groom who comes out of the pig sty is the animal doctor. the rape of Rosa back at home. Now. Kafka's stories routinely do that. because most of us want to think that inside of us is sentience generosity sympathy. Here is an institution of beliefs that no longer is vital. We saw in The Metamorphosis that Greg. Right. This is a libidinal script. this pig sty. maybe it is really a boy. gee up. Maybe it's a boy's naked body that this doctor actually yearns for. And maybe that is truer to human nature than the more docile prose that has a subject and a verb and an object that we know how it behaves. makes art itself into a wound. To prove anything about it. I suggest that you might perhaps make more sense of it. Greta stretches her nubile body. Naked next to the boy who has a hole in him. The have a second life. his metamorphosis. the wound itself is in some weird sense productive. You never know what you're going to find in your own house. What I'd like best is to scratch her eyes out. it still exists. this is the boy again. the way in which the wound becomes a signature here. but there was no galloping. The alter ego of Jane. of what is supposed to be possible. it's indifference. he's been emptied and he is lost. more innocent reading is that it simply projects the rape onto the boy. because it's filled with worms. The doctor who is musing. It's a remarkable definition of art. that in Kafka. What can you make of it? Well. It will turn out later in this story that the doctor will be positioned on that bed naked. Gee up. But it also violates us in giving us a different kind of logic altogether. He's raping Rosa. all of those things as I've suggested. However. But we note as well that this scene is still further over determined. perhaps. Kafka famously once said. It's not certainly the kind of docile objected picture that we think literature offers us where it describes things that we actually find in the real world. that's like that famous coat of many colors that Joseph had. as a kind of Freudian remark. the Samsa family is reunited. Everything is spilling out in this story. the figure who has the dream secretly wants to do. Metamophosis Lectures – Part 9 At the end of this story. So that certain kinds of events can no longer be repressed or policed. boys don't usually have that. And this was the story that you were told. that was my sole endowment. let's think about that. it's all happening. As I've said. it is a shame. Am I supposed to be content with this apology? Oh I must be. there's a particular form of dream that we know of that is called wet dream. here is the doctor with this hole in the patient this boy patient. is in itself a kind of figure for the doctor's mind. the family Samsa. and I suggested to you that Freud couldn't have said it better. And that Gregor's transformation. you never know what you're going to find in your own house. Here is the logic that says that the suffering. one cannot negotiate. most uncorallable way. Those are my words. And I think this invites some kind of homoerotic reading as well. I'm struck by the axe reference. And I believe that view of art as something that cuts. always expecting the impossible from the doctor. but it no longer commands the kinds of . telling you this story. So I'm going to repeat the passage I gave to you earlier. I can't help it I always have to put up with things. A fine wound is all I brought into the world. it's suggesting all kinds of possible signification about what it points us to. You saw that I tried to suggest a reading like that when talking about Jane Eyre. That this is supposed to be uninhabited. your mistake is you have not a wide enough view. A libidinal script. So let's try to make some sense of it. They have lost their ancient beliefs that parson sets it home and unravels his vestments one after another. it's frozen sea. My young friend. And it doesn't just violate our sense of norms. the. which is what in the old days of psychotherapy used to happen. if instead of reading it on the page here. you'll remember Rose's splendid remark when the groom and the horses come out of the pig sty. this is perhaps telling us what this. And I think that the story we know ends with the doctor being spent. And yet. What kind of fable is this? I mean this story is behaving in the wildest. It's one that essentially resists all our efforts to police it. and I tell you your wound is not so bad. what is a libidinal script? Well it's one that doesn't have a bottom. the wound appears. I said. that penetrates us. that is to say our imaginative and our libidinal lives. Many a one proffers his side and can hardly hear the axe in the forest. I call this a displaced vagina. If we consider that the groom is the other of the doctor. but it's also a kind of revulsion about flesh itself. I have been in all the sick rooms. It's promoting something. Maybe there's something. as it were. And what do these worms tell us? Now not that the worm speak just like the insect doesn't speak. too. That the Kafka male has enormous problems with these kinds of realities. there are things we can make of it. And as I've said to you earlier I think the church is being referenced and then dismissed here. well wait a minute. Or maybe it's just the injunctions of libido. galloping logic that is different from anything we have ever seen before. the guy is an insect. in some sense. if you want. in Kafka's text. perhaps. And it suggest that inside of us. and his death. That art is the axe that chops into our frozen city. it's torpor. It's going everywhere. Here then is that same sacrficial logic. Done in a tight corner with two strokes of the axe. Art is what violates us. has always wanted to do. Many a one proffers his side and can hardly hear the ax in the forest. That's why this boy has a hole in his body. Or it could be the logic of paranoia or hallucination. Here we are witness to a kind of unfurling. There's a kind of search for purity here. that it's a script that has multiple semantic semiotic possibilities. If we are willing to consider that this groom. What is coming out of this pig sty? Could we say that the pig sty. Here it is. None of this can be proven and yet it strikes me as a completely fascinating model for literature as a script. Maybe what Kafka is doing is actually truer and more commensurate with our real. I think it's fair to say that there would appear to be some kind of disgust. far and wide. then why don't we go a step further and say the groom is doing exactly what the doctor. far less than it is coming nearer to him. it seems to me. You remember in the Metamorphasis that Gregor hears the music played by the violin by Greta and he senses in this a kind of nurturing that life has denied him. Kafka's work always buttonholes us. the. that we would say well this is a dream narrative of sorts. And here is the reply of the doctor. were required for that. Art is what gets through our epidermis. but why don't you stop back another foot or two and say. This boy has a hole in his body and I don't think its crazy to think of it as a displaced vagina. who's not supposed to be there. Here it is. speaks again to the doctor. Since this. That's what people are like in my district. we crawled through the shadowy waste.

it's totally egalitarian. this really I think. Then my clothes were off.credence and belief that it did before. That underneath all of our trappings. It's what Leer. And the parallel that I want to make with that is the parallel with one of the great plays in. It. Now. That. this raises the question of whether medicine itself is equal to the demands placed on it. That every lost patient is a kind of loss. and all of the presumable stature. and security. This story levels it. that you cannot understand the patient unless you lie down naked with him. in English literature. old country doctor that I am. Feel free to draw on outside sources you know to help deepen. they're about the journey from one to the other. I have not thrust my services on them. this extraordinary wound is subject to all kinds of imaginative displacement readings. also points even beyond that. that we have. . the family and the village elders. But maybe we can see it in a different way still. that no physician I know would be willing to accept. I've suggested that art is what this story is pointing to. or talk with poor Tom we have this remarkable line. and shamanism. but it is imaginable because Franz Kafka imagined it. its ruthless in that way. Here is utter equality. That strip his clothes off. that Leer has gone mad. I think discovers. So. And so they came. only a doctor. The doctor stripped naked and placed on the bed next to the patient. And I think he's saying. That one could end in this way is is totally unimaginable. and solidity. perhaps Kafka is suggesting to us that the doctor cannot understand the patient or the wound. Only a doctor. I want. that if we are subjected to sufficient stress and horror. If he doesn't kill him dead. strip his clothes off. ponder the ramifications for human understanding. We can see it as a displacement form of Rosa being raped at home by the groom. until he is stripped naked and placed next to the patient. But the doctor is supposed to be omnipotent with his merciful surgeons hands. we discover that all of us are bare forked creatures. but destroyed. That if you cannot save your patient. There's no particular. But I'd like to take this ending. you have to be stripped naked and placed on a bed with the patient. to discover that underneath our robes and our crowns. except it is imaginable. by comparison. You may also choose to respond in a piece of short fiction or poetry. if you go back far enough. I don't know how to overstate that. bare forked creatures. His life will be taken if he cannot save the life of his patient. not just chastised. the doctor becomes the patient. I think. Now that's. my fingers in my beard and my head cocked to one side. here is the further part of the sacrificial story. That is the severe law and cost of understanding. I suggested that doctors have a kind of paramount authority in our culture. puts the doctor onto the bed with the patient. only a doctor. please write a short rationale of approximately 150-200 words to accompany your work. I suggested to you that this wound. that maybe the wound isn't simply the kind of sort of metaphoric Pandora's box that I have suggested. your reflection on Kafka. the ending of the story. How does Kafka's “law of metamorphosis” bear on the "fiction of relationship"? Using Gregor Samsa's fate and the image of the Country Doctor placed naked on the bed with his patient as models for greater philosophical reflection. what better do I want. bereft of my servant girl. And to think of Kafka as sort of art for art's sake is to really get him wrong. as Kafka perhaps suggests—transformed so as to understand those whom you do not know? Do art and literature have a privileged role in illuminating this experience of metamorphosis and its relation to understanding the Other? Why or why not? Instructions: Write a response of 300 to 500 words considering these questions. I'm willing to consider that. One hopes it could never happen. And yet. Art is the axe that chops through our frozen sea. which is what happens on the heath In King Leer. That if the doctor cannot heal. And with that in mind. nightmarish image of the doctor being stripped naked and being placed on the bed with the patient. It's not just the child who has proffered his side for the ax in the forest. Which they do. and stripped my clothes off me. it turns out that you lose yourself as well. is rooted in magic. this is a house call from hell. I'm sure that sensitive doctors feel exactly that way. And as I suggested to you. to understand the patient. If he doesn't kill him dead. And in his conversation. Can one become the Other. And this is a way of saying that the law of metamorphosis is Kafka's law. That the tempest. And goes somewhere else with it altogether. Leer seems to under. that we are all bare forked creatures. only a doctor. and that witch doctor in fact did encounter the kind of severe logic that is incorporated in the story's outcome. even if we're a king. That to understand the wound. Well. You know I'd like to say that at some figurative level. of the really high stakes of doctoring. I think. And that's what dramatized in this story. then he'll heal us. And yet. We can see it as a twisted version of the doctor's own fantasies and repressed desires that are now finally being given free course and free run. it seems fair to say that medicine itself. A school choir with a teacher at the head of it stood before the house and sang these words to an utterly simple tune. I started my commentary on this story by saying that doctor's find this story nightmarish. Maybe the wound is something different still. And heaven knows that this particular outcome of being thrust into the bed of the patient with villagers around singing has got to be about the worst. that's Shakespeare's line. and I looked at the people quietly. the storm strikes him and that through this madness he acquires a kind of vision. they don't see themselves courting dangers of this particular stripe. Here would be a view of medicine. which is a way of saying. Utter equality. You have to become the other. I think Kafka's story is going in the same direction. If you do so. then it's the doctor himself who will be punished. who has produced this blossom that God seems to have sent him. Kafka. curriculum that could possibly measure up to the kinds of issues that Kafka points to. the story. once again. as it pleases them. then he'll heal us. then consider. In fact in Western literature. We are bare forked creatures. What are those demands? Those demands are about the fate of flesh. Now that's not the way doctors see their. They are about questions whose answers go beyond anything that's learn-able in medical school. they're about the line between life and death. I mean. It's also the doctor himself who is stripped naked and placed down on the bed with the patient while the villagers around sing.

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