Theosophy, Cabala, and the Modern Spiritual Revival
Author: June O. Leavitt
Pubpsher: OUP USA
Category: Literary Criticism
June O. Leavitt offers a fascinating examination of the mystical in Franz Kafka's life and writings, showing that Kafka's understanding of the occult was not only a product of his own clairvoyant experiences but of the age in which he lived.
Release on 2018-12-10 | by George Pattison,Kate Kirkpatrick
Being, Nothingness, Love
Author: George Pattison,Kate Kirkpatrick
At the time when existentialism was a dominant intellectual and cultural force, a number of commentators observed that some of the language of existential philosophy, not least its interpretation of human existence in terms of nothingness, evoked the language of so-called mystical writers. This book takes on this observation and explores the evidence for the influence of mysticism on the philosophy of existentialism. It begins by delving into definitions of mysticism and existentialism, and then traces the elements of mysticism present in German and French thought during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The book goes on to make original contributions to the study of figures including Kierkegaard, Buber, Heidegger, Beauvoir, Sartre, Marcel, Camus, Weil, Bataille, Berdyaev, and Tillich, linking their existentialist philosophy back to some of the key concerns of the mystical tradition. Providing a unique insight into how these two areas have overlapped and interacted, this study is vital reading for any academic with an interest in twentieth-century philosophy, theology and religious studies.
The eagerly anticipated final volume of the award-winning, definitive biography of Franz Kafka How did Kafka become Kafka? This eagerly anticipated third and final volume of Reiner Stach's definitive biography of the writer answers that question with more facts and insight than ever before, describing the complex personal, political, and cultural circumstances that shaped the young Franz Kafka (1883–1924). It tells the story of the years from his birth in Prague to the beginning of his professional and literary career in 1910, taking the reader up to just before the breakthrough that resulted in his first masterpieces, including "The Metamorphosis." Brimming with vivid and often startling details, Stach’s narrative invites readers deep inside this neglected period of Kafka’s life. The book’s richly atmospheric portrait of his German Jewish merchant family and his education, psychological development, and sexual maturation draws on numerous sources, some still unpublished, including family letters, schoolmates’ memoirs, and early diaries of his close friend Max Brod. The biography also provides a colorful panorama of Kafka’s wider world, especially the convoluted politics and culture of Prague. Before World War I, Kafka lived in a society at the threshold of modernity but torn by conflict, and Stach provides poignant details of how the adolescent Kafka witnessed violent outbreaks of anti-Semitism and nationalism. The reader also learns how he developed a passionate interest in new technologies, particularly movies and airplanes, and why another interest—his predilection for the back-to-nature movement—stemmed from his “nervous” surroundings rather than personal eccentricity. The crowning volume to a masterly biography, this is an unmatched account of how a boy who grew up in an old Central European monarchy became a writer who helped create modern literature.
"An excellent overview of the history of Jewish mysticism from its early beginnings to contemporary Hasidism...scholarly and complex." —Library Journal "An excellent work, clear and solidly documented by Joseph Dan on Gershom Scholem and on his work." —Notes Bibliographiques "An excellent guide to Scholem's work." —Christian Century
Part of the Jewish Encounter series Rodger Kamenetz, acclaimed author of The Jew in the Lotus, has long been fascinated by the mystical tales of the Hasidic master Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav. And for many years he has taught a course in Prague on Franz Kafka. The more he thought about their lives and writings, the more aware he became of unexpected connections between them. Kafka was a secular artist fascinated by Jewish mysticism, and Rabbi Nachman was a religious mystic who used storytelling to reach out to secular Jews. Both men died close to age forty of tuberculosis. Both invented new forms of storytelling that explore the search for meaning in an illogical, unjust world. Both gained prominence with the posthumous publication of their writing. And both left strict instructions at the end of their lives that their unpublished books be burnt. Kamenetz takes his ideas on the road, traveling to Kafka’s birthplace in Prague and participating in the pilgrimage to Uman, the burial site of Rabbi Nachman visited by thousands of Jews every Jewish new year. He discusses the hallucinatory intensity of their visions and offers a rich analysis of Nachman’s and Kafka’s major works, revealing uncanny similarities in the inner lives of these two troubled and beloved figures, whose creative and religious struggles have much to teach us about the significant role played by the imagination in the Jewish spiritual experience.