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Franz Kafka International Airport - Crossing the Central Reservation of My Imagination [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Craig L

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Franz Kafka International Airport [25th Mar. 2009|22:44]
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This is brilliant!



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[User Picture]From: daylight_broke
2009-03-26 06:10 (UTC)

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Effing brilliant video. Oh man, I LOVE Franz Kafka. Mad love for The Metamorphosis and The Trial, yo! :)
[User Picture]From: blipvert
2009-03-27 16:08 (UTC)

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Wow, I get the impression our bookshelves look freakishly similar. :)

Kafka has been among my favourite authors since I was a teenager. One of the reasons I am near-fluent in German today is that I was obsessed with wanting to read Kafka's books in their original text. His prose is layered with double-entendre and grammatical devices which do not translate well (or at all) to English. A good example is one of the titles you mentioned, The Metamorphosis. In a biological context, Kafka's word, Verwandlung, does mean metamorphosis, but in non-scientific usage it means "transformation" or simply "change". Or, in Catholic doctrine the same word is used for the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the flesh and blood of Christ. Interestingly, although a Jew, Kafka's religious metaphors drew almost exclusively from Christian symbolism. Yet, as someone who was raised Catholic I have always felt Kafka made more sense out of the inherent contradictions of Christianity than any other writer I encountered.

Fascinating feature of Der Prozeß (The Trial): when it was found (after Kafka's death), the pages were out of order and not consistently numbered. Although the sequence of pages within chapters is easily deduced from the flow of text from one page to the next, each chapter started a fresh page and chapters were not numbered, so some doubt exists as to the intended order of chapters, and, for some chapters, even whether they are not alternative versions of others.

Two other books I loved were Das Schloß (the Castle) and Amerika, despite their having been left unfinished by their author's untimely death. The latter is especially compelling, given that Kafka knew almost nothing about America beyond a few stereotypes and what little he could glean from books, newspapers, and popular culture, and even then gets several details wrong (his Statue of Liberty holds a sword rather than a torch). Nevertheless, as with much of Kafka's writing, it contains the veracity of a dream (and a fever-dream at that).

Well, as you've seen by now, I can go on and on forever on nearly any topic... but I do love Kafka and everything he created in his wonderful twisted vision during his far-too-short life upon our earth.
[User Picture]From: daylight_broke
2009-03-27 18:41 (UTC)

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Wow. That's one of the most thoughtful comments I've ever read. Sir, you should be a literature teacher. For real.
[User Picture]From: cz_unit
2009-03-26 12:35 (UTC)

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This explains a lot about the Prague airport.

Hint: Take a train in :-)

CZ
[User Picture]From: blipvert
2009-03-27 16:11 (UTC)

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How did you enjoy the city itself? Prague is one of those places I have always longed to visit.
[User Picture]From: cz_unit
2009-03-27 17:24 (UTC)

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Completely unbelievable. We went there in the mid 90's because my brother was working in a factory there with Westinghouse. He had a flat in the older section of town, we stayed there while he was in Italy for some of it.

The older churches are amazing. They have a cubist one; that's near where he lived. Subway is exceptional with that Soviet look and efficiency (the escalators run at more than double the speed of DC for example). The trolley lines around town are also quite good.

Food was interesting. Whatever you do get off the main track and into the alleys. Excellent food in odd places, locals are fairly closed but still ok. Don't tip much, as my brother tried to explain it really fucks up the economy (well, at the time. Why bother to be a scientist when you can be a waiter and make lots of $$$ from westerners).

The clock is incredible. The castle is incredible, you get the sense that when these people threw people out of windows due to religious issues, these were *really tall* windows. The feeling of history and gravitas is much deeper than say at the White Tower in London.

One day we were there the central square was packed with *mobs* of people. I thought it was another revolution and looked around for a tank to commandeer. I have always wanted to lead a mob of 100,000 revolutionaires. Alas, it was because the Czech team beat the Russians in the Olympics, they really were very happy about this.

We did a side tour into Germany and in 1 day burned through the same amount of cash as a week in Prague. On the way back we took a train into Czech and the border station was Cheb. Note to you: If you're sitting in the train reading a book and hear a mumble followed by a slight, sharp feeling in your ribs, know that you are being gently prodded with the barrel of a Kalashnikov and the nice friendly man would like to see your papers, please.

Smile a lot. It's an amazing place.

CZ
From: dark_thought77
2009-03-26 20:15 (UTC)

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[User Picture]From: blipvert
2009-03-27 16:17 (UTC)

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Too true!
From: dark_thought77
2009-03-26 20:17 (UTC)

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From: lilas
2009-03-27 00:31 (UTC)

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From: dark_thought77
2009-03-27 00:33 (UTC)

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[User Picture]From: blipvert
2009-03-27 16:24 (UTC)

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From what I've heard, the Czech sense of humour is such that I could actually imagine them building something like that airport.
You know, most of Kafka's friends thought what he was writing was comedy! He used to invite people over to hear him read passages from his stories and the entire room would be doubled up, laughing like drains! That tells you all you need to know about the Czechs. :)