Savage Travel: Sadism and Masochism in Kafka’s Penal Colony
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Early readers of Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony” (“In der Strafkolonie”) decried its shocking, perverse explicitness. As Hans Beilhack wrote in the Münchner Zeitung in 1916, Kafka’s story was sadistic; its author was a “libertine of horror.”1 Otto Erich Hesse, writing in 1921 in the Zeitschrift für Bücherfreunde, took Beilhack one step further, claiming that Kafka and his readers were “repulsive” sexual miscreants: “the vileness of the human animal that turns itself on and goes into heat because of such tortures—reported as a matter of course—can only produce disgust.”2
KeywordsGreen Book Penal Colony Torture Face German Colonist Sexual Excess
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