We use cookies on this website, you can read about them here. To use the website as intended please... ACCEPT COOKIES
UAL Research Online

Kafka’s Odradek - Thoughts of Distortion and Transformation

Oki, Michiko (2014) Kafka’s Odradek - Thoughts of Distortion and Transformation. In: European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies 4th Conference: Utopia, 29 August 2014, University of Helsinki.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Oki, Michiko

This presentation examines Kafka’s character Odradek appearing in his short story The Cares of the Family Man, a strange animated objectcreature who resides in the threshold area of the household. I argue that Odradek allegorically expresses a place of distortion, thus violence, in the socialising system in modernity and evokes the social criticism, especially a critique of humanism. Odradek has been variously discussed as a prototype of distortion, the remnant of an entity produced at a tangent to itself by the anthropocentric forces at work in forming the subject as well as history. Drawing on Freud’s idea of the uncanny and Adorno’s understanding of aesthetic experience, I argue that Odradek is both an allegorical expression and an allegorical experience of what makes social criticism possible when the individual entity is transformed into a transcendent social being. Freud’s idea of the dubious lures of narcissism of self-objectification has the capacity, here, to open up the self to space of reflection and observation. This object-creature, a doubling of the human, that signals the distortion fundamental to the socialising process, further prefigures the discourses on posthumanism in the postwar era, in which the idea of ‘human’ is contested and challenged interdisciplinarily.

Official Website: http://www.eam-europe.be/utopia-university-helsinki-2014
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 29 August 2014
Event Location: University of Helsinki
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2022 14:53
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2022 14:53
Item ID: 18789
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/18789

Repository Staff Only: item control page | University Staff: Request a correction