This is why, in Kafka’s case, the first (naive) reading is often the most adequate one.

“Reading Kafka demands a great effort of abstraction—not of learning more (the proper interpretive horizon to understand his works), but of unlearning the standard interpretive references, so that one becomes able to open up to the raw force of Kafka’s writing. There are three such interpretive frames: theological (modern man’s anxious search for the absent God); socio-critical (Kafka’s staging of the nightmarish world of modern alienated bureaucracy); and psychoanalytic (Kafka’s “unresolved Oedipus complex,” which prevented him from engaging in a “normal” sexual relationship).


All this has to be erased. A kind of childish naïveté has to be regained for a reader to be able to feel the raw force of Kafka’s universe. This is why, in Kafka’s case, the first (naive) reading is often the most adequate one.”

― Slavoj Žižek, The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology


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