Author: Giorgio Agamben, Italian philosopher; ZENG Yanbing, Professor, School of Liberal Arts, Renmin University of China
Italian political philosopher and thinker Giorgio Agamben’s essay “K” is his reading of Kafka. In the essay, Agamben analyzes the protagonist K in Kafka’s two novels, Der Process and Das Schloss by drawing on resources from linguistics, philosophy and law. Etymologically speaking, the protagonist “K” is the first letter of the Latin “kalumnia,” which means K is the kalumniator or the slanderer. For Kafka, self-slander is a strategy and weapon to fight against the legal system and the authorities. Meanwhile, the name “K” in Das Schloss derives from the implement used to survey land. “K”’s job is to set boundaries–borders in the human world and boundaries between the human world and the heavenly world–and to struggle against border-crossing behavior. On the basis of translation, this close reading tries to demonstrate how Agamben applies varied approaches in his new reading and interpretation and how linguistic analysis for him is both a research method and direct evidence.
Agamben, Kafka, "K", linguistic approach, Der Process, Das Schloss
Full Text (International Version):
Full Text (Simplified Chinese Version):