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Humanities 2017, 6(2), 19; doi:10.3390/h6020019

Narrative Transformed: The Fragments around Franz Kafka’s “A Report to an Academy”

Department of German, New York University, 19 University Place, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10003, USA
Academic Editor: Joela Jacobs
Received: 7 February 2017 / Revised: 2 April 2017 / Accepted: 6 April 2017 / Published: 10 April 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Narratology)
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Abstract

Franz Kafka’s “A Report to an Academy”, in which the ape-turned-human Rotpeter provides a narrative account of his life, has been scrutinized with regard to its allegorical, scientific, and historical implications. This article shifts the focus toward the narrative set-up by closely reading the transformation that can be traced in the sequence of several narrative attempts found in Kafka’s manuscripts. Analyzing the fragments around this topic, I show how Kafka probes different angles—from a meeting between a first-person narrator and Rotpeter’s impresario and a dialogue between the narrator and Rotpeter, via the well-known “Report” itself, on to a letter by one of Rotpeter’s former teachers—that reveal a narrative transformation equally important as the metamorphosis from animal to human. The focus on the narrative constellations and on the lesser-known constitutive margins of the “Report” help to better understand, moreover, the complex relationship between immediacy and mediation, the ethnological concern of speech for the self and the unknown animal other, and poetological questions of production, representation, and reception. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal narrators; human-animal studies; Franz Kafka; manuscripts; speaking-for; narrative representation; literary representation animal narrators; human-animal studies; Franz Kafka; manuscripts; speaking-for; narrative representation; literary representation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Densky, D. Narrative Transformed: The Fragments around Franz Kafka’s “A Report to an Academy”. Humanities 2017, 6, 19.

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