Chapter: Kafka and International Medievalisms

A new chapter just got published, officially out in July!

“The Medievalist Simulacra of Kafka’s The Castle in Graphic Adaptations”, in Medievalisms in a Global Age. Edited by Angela Jane Weisl and Robert Squillace Boydell & Brewer, 2024.
Here’s a short excerpt:

Through their attempts to rescue Kafka’s work – as they see it – they introduce new medievalisms to the text of The Castle while insisting that Kafka’s writing is entirely autobiographical, explicitly medievalizing Kafka himself as the archetype of the medieval myth of the “Wandering Jew.” In the postscript to their adaptation of The Castle, they reframe the story not as a grail quest, but the “quest for acceptance” through the “labyrinthine path” of life; in this case, the impossible village. At the biographical level, Crumb and Mairowitz also open their book with the sixteenth-century Golem myth, insisting that this premodern cultural milieu had a strong influence on Kafka, despite a lack of confirmation by Kafka himself. With irony, next to Kafka, the Golem myth represents another tourist highlight in Prague, alongside the tale of Faust, with coffee shops, restaurants, and souvenir booths marketing those symbols of the dark, exotic, and Gothic heritage of the city.

You can check out the whole volume here.


Barrington, Candace, and Louise D’Arcens. ‘Global Medievalism and Translation’. In The Cambridge Companion to Medievalism. Cambridge Companions to Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.

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Harman, Mark. ‘“Digging the Pit of Babel”: Retranslating Franz Kafka’s “Castle”’. New Literary History 27, no. 2 (1996): 291–311.

Holland, Norman, and Leona Sherman. ‘Gothic Possibilities’. New Literary History, Explorations in Literary History, 8, no. 2 (Winter 1977): 279–94.

Thomas Hummitzsch, “Interview mit David Z. Mairowitz: „Crumb hat dieselben Ängste wie Kafka“” Tageespiegel May 14, 2013, (n.p.) Translation by the author.

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Bára Jurašková, “Jsme ztracení jako v Americe? S Jaromírem 99 o Kafka Bandu” Alterecho,, June 4, 2019, (n.p.)

Kafka, Franz. The Castle. Translated by Anthea Bell. Reissue edition. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Kraft, Helga. “Kafka in Comics. Unter Besonderer Berücksichtigung von Moritz Stetters Das Urteil.” Colloquia Germanica 48, no. 4 (2015): 293–316.

Mairowitz, David Zane, and Robert Crumb. Kafka. Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2007.

Colin Marshall, “Cartoonist R. Crumb Assesses 21 Cultural Figures, from Dylan & Hitchcock, to Kafka & The Beatles” Open Culture January 3, 2014 (n.p.)

Helena Pazdiorová, Tomáš Franta “Kafka Band: Vůbec netušíme, kam nás tahle kafkovská loď doveze” February 10, 2014, Alterecho, (n.p.)

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Wood, Juliette. The Holy Grail: History and Legend. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012.

Alice Zoubková „Kafkův Zámek mě posouvá dál“, Já du, Goethe-Institute Prague, September 2013, (n.p.)

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