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Breon Mitchell, “Kafka And The Hunger Artists” Essay

  • Submitted by: caseylford
  • on April 17, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 620 words

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Below is an essay on "Breon Mitchell, “Kafka And The Hunger Artists”" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Breon Mitchell’s “Kafka and the Hunger Artists” is an article that illuminates the existence of actual hunger artists in Kafka’s time and provides in-depth insight to their lives and art. The only limitation of this article is its specificity, or that it is not an all-encompassing guide to theme, symbolism, or characters in Franz Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist.” Actually, the article is less about the story and more an insight to Kafka’s voice. Mitchell says himself that “the [result of the finished article] will neither invalidate nor justify any particular reading of ‘A Hunger Artist.’ What [he hopes] to foster instead is an increased awareness of the intertextual complexity of Kafka’s narrative voice…” (238).

In 1889, a physiology professor at Florence’s Institute for Advanced Studies, Luigi Luciani, performed a study of “inanition,” or the condition of being exhausted due to lack of nutrition, or starvation. Luciani’s study focuses primarily on one case, that of Giovanni Succi, a public faster, or hunger artist. A majority of Mitchell’s article highlights how closely Kafka’s story parallels the existence of this real-life hunger artist and the world he lived in: his motivations regarding his art and all the physical aspects involved, as well as the motivations and processes of the people who surrounded him. For example, a supervisory committee of medical students, local citizens, and press members was appointed to monitor Succi and ensure he had no access whatsoever to food, much like Kafka’s “watchers.” And, like the watchers in the story, the real-life committee is documented as somewhat suspicious of the truth of the art of hunger. “Fame among contemporaries…nomadic life…fanatic devotion to fasting…constant attempts to set new records, (a) long public career in the major cities of the world, and…subsequent decline—all are mirrored in Kafka’s nameless protagonist” (244). Mitchell does broaden his argument, pointing out that Succi is not the finite template for...

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Breon Mitchell, “Kafka And The Hunger Artists”. Anti Essays. Retrieved April 18, 2019, from the World Wide Web: https://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/Breon-Mitchell-Kafka-And-The-Hunger-207705.html