display | more...
Deleuze and Guattari write of Franz Kafka's The Judgment (Das Urteil) in their book entitled Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature. Of this short story, famously written by Kafka in a night that commonly marks his magical maturation as an adult writer, Deleuze and Guattari write that it “revolves entirely around the theme of letters,” and it, “portrays the subject of enunciation who remains in the paternal store and the Russian friend who is not only an addressee but a potential subject of the statement and who does not exist perhaps outside the letters” (page 31). Deleuze and Guattari impress upon the reader the importance of the postman or the messenger in Kafka’s texts and the way in which the motion of letters assumes a position as that which the letters are about.

It is not the specific content of the letters between Georg’s father and his Russian friend that undermine Georg’s relationship to the friend, but rather the fact that such letters move between the father and the friend. This movement of the letters is originary, as Kafka writes it. Of course, we generally conceive of a letter’s content is being that which originates it. The movement of a letter is so important for Kafka because it reveals absence as an always-present epistolary trope. Absence is integral where destination is originary. (If content, that which the letter is supposedly about, is originary, then absence is absent, because the content of a letter is always present.)

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.