Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Davide Stimilli

Second Advisor

Patrick Greaney

Third Advisor

Eric White

Abstract

Franz Kafka’s “Beschreibung eines Kampfes” employs a uniquely troubling narrative structure in which the story’s narrator begins to relate the story of his run-in with an “acquaintance” but fails to maintain a stable, subjective standpoint from which he can narrate sensibly. Despite his attempt to utilize a secondary narrative that makes him both a narrator and a narrated character, this first-person narrator’s failed subject perspective gives way to a myriad of other characters’ and their own attempts to solidify their individual existence via secondary narratives. Put in context of other similar, yet distinct, narrative structures employed by Hoffmann, Stevenson, Machen, and Chesterton, Kafka’s variety of frame (and framed) narrative demonstrates his unique authorial perspective emerging in his earliest remaining short story— “Beschreibung eines Kampfes.”

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