David Foster Wallace on Kafka’s Humor
October 12, 2011 § Leave a comment
In Consider the Lobster David Foster Wallace has a short essay titled “Some Remarks on Kafka’s Funniness From Which Probably Not Enough Has Been Removed,” in which he presents his case for reading humor in Kafka and how he tried to teach his students to do this when teaching Kafka. I liked this passage at the end and wanted to share it
It’s not that students don’t “get” Kafka’s humor but that we’ve taught them to see humor as something you get – the same way we’ve taught them that a self is something you just have. No wonder they cannot appreciate the really center Kafka joke: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home.
The rest of the essays in the collection are great too. Some personal favorites include “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart,” “Authority and American Usage,” and “Certainly the End of Something or Other, One Would Sort of Have to Think.”