Kafka’s Dostoyevsky: Conclusions and Questions

  • W. J. Dodd


It is above all Kafka’s literalness that enables us to focus on his texts and situate Dostoyevskian material meaningfully in their interpretation. In saying this, we also pay tribute to the qualities of Dostoyevsky’s writing which found an admiring reader in Kafka and prompted him to emulate and not just to imitate him. In Dostoyevsky’s visual-yet-abstract power, his eye for luminous detail, his mastery of the grotesque, his psychological prowess and his depiction of spiritual crisis, Kafka discovered a kindred intelligence. But we do well to remember that a relationship as intense and as rich as this is driven not only by kinship and admiration, but also by difference and dissent. It is this model of ‘influence’ that underlies my analysis. Fingerprint evidence of the kind which plays an important part in this study may not provide us with an exhaustive account of Dostoyevsky’s importance to Kafka — much, inevitably, remains hidden from view, perhaps unfathomable — but it certainly illuminates the matter in a fascinating way. Drawing the findings of this study together, we are left with a fund of insights, and also with a number of questions.


Exhaustive Account Class Tenement Universal Love Religious Vision Spiritual Crisis 
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Copyright information

© W. J. Dodd 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. J. Dodd
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamUK

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