Kafka’s Animal Stories: Modernist Form and Interspecies Narrative

  • Marianne DeKoven
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


Kafka’s animal stories, especially “The Metamorphosis” and “A Report to an Academy,” have been of great interest to the interdisciplinary field of animal studies. A number of works in literary animal studies have used the complexity of Kafka’s stories to discuss such topics of current interest as crossing the human-animal divide, what we can and cannot know of what it is to be another animal, how writing from the point of view of a nonhuman animal can both provide possible exits from the solipsism of the modern or bourgeois subject and also shift our own understanding of human subjectivity, ontology, epistemology, and limitation; also, how thinking about these stories, and animal literature in general, can serve the goal of decentering anthropocentrism.1


Human Language Nonhuman Animal Crew Member Human Speech Human Philosophy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works Cited

  1. Coetzee, J. M. The Lives of Animals. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999. Print.Google Scholar
  2. Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. 1899. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. Print.Google Scholar
  3. DeKoven, Marianne. Rich and Strange: Gender, History, Modernism. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  4. —. Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004. Print.Google Scholar
  5. Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. and Foreword, Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987. Print.Google Scholar
  6. —. Kafka: Toward A Minor Literature. Trans. Dana Polan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986. Print.Google Scholar
  7. Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976. Print.Google Scholar
  8. Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books, 1979. Print.Google Scholar
  9. Freud, Sigmund. “The Uncanny.” 1919. In Sigmund Freud: The Uncanny. Trans. David McLintock. New York: Penguin, 2003. 121–58. Print.Google Scholar
  10. Gilman, Sander. Franz Kafka, the Jewish Patient. New York: Routledge, 1995. Print.Google Scholar
  11. Ham, Jennifer, and Matthew Senior, eds. Animal Acts: Configuring the Human in Western History. New York: Routledge, 1997. Print.Google Scholar
  12. Harel, Naama. “De-allegorizing Kafka’s Ape: Two Animalistic Contexts.” In Lucht and Yaari 53–66. Print.Google Scholar
  13. Humanimalia: A Journal of Human/Animal Interface Studies. Founded by Istvan Csicseray-Ronay, Jr., and Sherryl Vint. DePauw University. Online journal.Google Scholar
  14. Kafka, Franz. The Complete Stories. Ed. Nahum Glatzer. Foreword John Updike. New York: Schocken Books, 1971. Print.Google Scholar
  15. Lippit, Akira Mizuta. Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000. Print.Google Scholar
  16. Lucht, Marc, and Donna Yarri, eds. Kafka’s Creatures: Animals, Hybrids, and Other Fantastic Beings. Lanham, Boulder, New York, Toronto, Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010. Print.Google Scholar
  17. Mitchell, W. J. T. Foreword. In Wolfe ix–xiv.Google Scholar
  18. Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1987. Print.Google Scholar
  19. Norris, Margot. Beasts of the Modern Imagination. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985. Print.Google Scholar
  20. —. “Kafka’s Hybrids: Thinking Animals and Mirrored Humans.” In Lucht and Yarri 17–32. Print.Google Scholar
  21. Scholtmeijer, Marian. “What is ‘Human’?” In Ham and Senior 127–143.Google Scholar
  22. Shukin, Nicole. Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Print.Google Scholar
  23. Wolfe, Cary. Animal Rites. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. Print.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Marianne DeKoven 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marianne DeKoven

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations