The Anatomist of Power: Franz Kafka and the Critique of Authority (Paperback)
Few twentieth-century writers remain as potent as Franz Kafka—one of the rare figures to maintain both a major presence in the academy and on the shelves of general readers. Yet, remarkably, no work has yet fully focused on his politics and anti-authoritarian sensibilities. The Anatomist of Power: Franz Kafka and the Critique of Authority is a fascinating new look at his widely known novels and stories (including The Trial, Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony and Amerika), portraying him as a powerful critic of authority, bureaucracy, capitalism, law, patriarchy, and prisons. Making deft use of Kafka’s diaries, his friends’ memoirs, and his original sketches, Costas Despiniadis addresses his active participation in Prague’s anarchist circles, his wide interest in anarchist authors, his skepticism about the Russian Revolution, and his ambivalent relationship with utopian Zionism. The portrait of Kafka that emerges is striking and fresh—rife with insights and a refusal to accept the structures of power that dominated his society.
Costas Despiniadis is a publisher, translator, and author of seven books. Stelios Kapsomenos is a translator and historian.
"Despiniadis picks through the texts of [Kafka's] novels and short stories, augmented with references to his diary and surviving letters to reveal a [man] with unquestionable anarchist sympathies and an outlook on the world that was fully apart of that philosophy. . . . Analysed as an ‘anatomist of power’, this book goes to the heart of [Kafka's] absorption in the detail of human subjection."