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Individualist vs. Community th century Germany Ethic in 20 David Pan Humanities Core Course Individualist vs. Community th century Germany Ethic in 20 David Pan Humanities Core Course Lecture 5, Winter Quarter

20 th century German culture is dominated by the conflict between an individualist ethic 20 th century German culture is dominated by the conflict between an individualist ethic and a concern for community. • The ethic of individual striving of Goethe’s Faust replaced a Christian ethic to establish a new type of morality in German culture. • Franz Kafka reacted to the deterioration of community life that accompanied the rise of the individualist ethic. • “In the Penal Colony” presents in the officer and the explorer an intractable conflict between a primitive Eastern Jewish culture and a civilized Western Jewish culture.

19 th century reactions condemned Goethe’s Faust for its anti-Christian tendencies. from Joseph von 19 th century reactions condemned Goethe’s Faust for its anti-Christian tendencies. from Joseph von Eichendorff’s History of German Literature (1857) „. . . Goethe summed up the idea of humanity, not just as the cultivation of a sense of beauty through art, but the harmonious development of all human powers and capacities through life itself. He does not at all want to „follow an ideal“ but to allow his feelings to develop into capacities through struggle and play. [. . . ] Clearly such an absolute focus on natural development makes all positive religion impossible, or at the very least superfluous (1052 -53). Eichendorff sees Goethe’s Faust as central to the development of an individualist, humanist ethic. But this new ethic undermines religion. Eichendorff, Joseph von. Werke in sechs Bänden. Ed. Wolfgang Frühwald, Brigitte Schillbach and Hartwig Schultz. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1985 -1993.

Beginning with German unification in 1871, critics began to see Faust as a model Beginning with German unification in 1871, critics began to see Faust as a model for German identity. Gustav von Loeper (1871) „Faust‘s true guilt and at the same time his true greatness lies in the struggle against the limits of human nature“ (XIV). Loeper describes Faust’s guilt as part of his “greatness. ” Kuno Fischer (1878) „Faust‘s pleasure lies in the fruit of his labor, the view upon the great and blessed sphere of influence that he has created and upon the land that he has wrung from the elements, settled, and transformed into a human world and into an arena for striving generations after his own image“ (3: 55 -56, emphasis in original). Fischer sees Faust’s ideal of striving as the basis of activity for future generations. Loeper, Gustav. Goethes Sämtliche Werke. Vol. 13. Ed. Gustav von Loeper. Berlin: Hempel, 1871. Fischer, Kuno. Goethe’s Faust. Ueber die Entstehung und Composition des Gedichts. Stuttgart: Cotta, 1878. Cited in Karl Robert Mandelkow, Goethe im Urteil seiner Kritiker : Dokumente zur Wirkungsgeschichte Goethes in Deutschland. 4 vols. Munich: Beck, 1989.

The individualist ethic of Goethe’s Faust reaches the peak of its influence amongst established The individualist ethic of Goethe’s Faust reaches the peak of its influence amongst established Goethe scholars in the Nazi period. Hermann August Korff Professor, University of Leipzig (1925 -1954) Visiting Professor, Harvard University (1934) Visiting Professor, Columbia University (1938) “The contrast between good and evil is not thereby dissolved. Faust feels deeply what in an elementary sense is good and what is evil. But though he always participates in the two as he participates in the play of pleasure and pain, elementary morality does not have final power over him. It becomes a preserved moment within a more total ideal that has a hyper-moral character because morality is only one value next to other values and is no longer the highest value. ” “For that which is placed above morality is the personality, whose fulfillment is the true goal of such a life. ” “Great personalities consume the smaller ones. That is the law of nature. And their unethical behavior only consists in the way in which they must obey their natural law without allowing themselves to be hindered by their still existing moral affects. ” (161 -63) Morality is subordinated to the personality of the individual. What seems unethical is actually the individual’s adherence to a natural law without allowing moral feelings to get in the way. Korff, Hermann August. Faustischer Glaube: Versuch über das Problem humaner Lebenshaltung. Leipzig: J. J. Weber, 1938. My translation.

Nazi Goethe critics repeated the arguments of scholars like Korff. “Faust is the ingenious Nazi Goethe critics repeated the arguments of scholars like Korff. “Faust is the ingenious man who cannot be content with having and possessing either material or spiritual possessions. In this man there lives a drive to become a genius of the world and of the deed. The paltry contentment and the merely pleasurable that are the essence of the philistine are foreign to him, at least to the truly Faustian man. […] Yet, we must express this more clearly and more powerfully: here in the Faustian man there lives a passionate will that surges from the primal depths and does not shy away from any means of fulfilling the numerous tasks with which life confronts him – even to the point of allying himself with the devil!” (12). Schott promotes a focus on the world and deed. Schott refers to the Faustian man as someone who should not shy away from devilish means for fulfilling his goals. Goethe’s Faust provides a justification for the violence that accompanies the goal of developmental striving. Schott, Georg. Goethes Faust in heutiger Schau. Stuttgart: Tazzelwurm Verlag, 1940. My translation.

20 th century German culture is dominated by the conflict between an individualist ethic 20 th century German culture is dominated by the conflict between an individualist ethic and a concern for community. • The ethic of individual striving of Goethe’s Faust replaced a Christian ethic to establish a new type of morality in German culture. • Franz Kafka reacted to the deterioration of community life that accompanied the rise of the individualist ethic. • “In the Penal Colony” presents in the officer and the explorer an intractable conflict between a primitive Eastern Jewish culture and a civilized Western Jewish culture.

Franz Kafka. No date. National Library of Israel. Reproduced in Batuman, Elif. “Kafka’s Last Franz Kafka. No date. National Library of Israel. Reproduced in Batuman, Elif. “Kafka’s Last Trial. ” New York Times Magazine. 22 September 2010. Web. 18 January 2011.

Though born into an assimilated Jewish family, Kafka became interested in Czech anarchism and Though born into an assimilated Jewish family, Kafka became interested in Czech anarchism and Jewish traditions. • • • 1883 Born July 3 in Prague to Julie Loewy and Hermann Kafka, a merchant who grew up in a Jewish ghetto but rejected this past in order to assimilate into the society of the Austro-Hungarian empire. 1889 Though living in Czech-speaking Prague and born into a Jewish family whose ancestors spoke Yiddish, he is sent to elementary school at the Deutsche Knabenschule and in 1893 to the Altstaedter Deutsches Gymnasium. 1902 Meets Max Brod, who becomes a life-long collaborator and friend and who eventually oversees the publication of Kafka’s posthumous works. 1906 Receives a doctorate in law and begins career in the insurance industry, first with Assicurazioni Generali and then at the Workers Accident Insurance Institute of the Kingdom of Bohemia. 1910 Begins friendship with Czech anarchist, Michal Mareš, with whom Kafka attends anarchist gatherings of Klub Mladych. 1911 -12 Attends meetings of the Zionist group, Bar Kochba, and visits the Yiddish theater. Meets Felice Bauer, with whom he is engaged twice, but never marries. 1914 -17 Writes “In the Penal Colony. ” 1917 Tuberculosis forces Kafka to take a leave of absence from his insurance job. 1922 Retires with pension due to illness. 1924 Dies June 3 of tuberculosis in Kierling, near Vienna, Austria. Born and educated in an assimilated Jewish family. Combines writing with “day job” as an insurance executive. Interested in anarchism, Zionism, and Yiddish culture. Wagenbach, Klaus. Franz Kafka: eine Biographie seiner Jugend 1883‑ 1912. Bern: Franke Verlag, 1958. 270‑ 271.

Kafka was interested in a Zionism that promoted community over individualism and “life” over Kafka was interested in a Zionism that promoted community over individualism and “life” over concepts and arguments. “Today there is a general tendency amongst a few people to go beyond the individual and integrate it into super‑individual contexts. Several signs suggest that a shift is taking place in our time, not just for Judaism, but for humanity, which manifests itself externally in the West as a struggle against a mechanizing, de‑spiritualizing functionalism and in the East as a reawakening of old cultural realms and the European attempt to appropriate Asian culture” (VI). “Zionism is not a science nor a logical system of concepts, and it has nothing to do with racial theories and definitions of the folk. It is impossible to teach someone Zionism through arguments, and all the discoveries of racial and sociological research do not touch us. Zionism lies in another dimension of being. It is not knowledge, but life (VIII)”. Individual-oriented rationality of Western Judaism vs. Community-oriented traditionalism of Eastern Judaism. Arguments, science, concepts, and research vs. Life Kohn, Hans. “Geleitwort. ” Vom Judentum. Ed. Verein jüdischer Hochschüler Bar Kochba in Prag. Leipzig: Kurt Wolff, 1913. My translation. This book was part of Kafka’s personal library. Baioni, Guiliano. “Zionism, Literature, and the Yiddish Theater. ” Reading Kafka: Prague, Politics, and the “Fin de Siècle. ” Ed. Mark Anderson. New York: Schocken Books, 1989. 97 -102.

Kafka notes a contradiction between the alienation of the intellectual and the vitality of Kafka notes a contradiction between the alienation of the intellectual and the vitality of Yiddish folk culture. “Folksong evening: Dr. Nathan Birnbaum is the lecturer. Jewish habit of inserting ‘my dear ladies and gentlemen’ or just ‘my dear’ at every pause in the talk. Was repeated at the beginning of Birnbaum’s talk to the point of being ridiculous. But from what I know of Löwy I think that these recurrent expressions, which are frequently found in ordinary Yiddish conversations too, such as ‘Weh ist mir’ or ‘S’ist nischt, ’ or ‘S’ist viel zu reden, ’ are not intended to cover up embarrassment but are rather intended, like ever‑fresh springs, to stir up the sluggish stream of speech that is never fluent enough for the Jewish temperament” (173). Alienated gesture of the Western intellectual, attesting to a contradiction between intention and execution vs. Expressive gesture of Eastern Jewish communities, that still has a vital spirit. Kafka, Franz. The Diaries 1910‑ 1923. Ed. Max Brod. New York: Schocken Books, 1988.

The opposition between Western and Eastern Jews dominates his conception of himself. “After all, The opposition between Western and Eastern Jews dominates his conception of himself. “After all, we both know numerous examples of the Western Jew; as far as I know I’m the most Western‑Jewish of them all. In other words, to exaggerate, not one second of calm has been granted me; nothing has been granted me, everything must be earned, not only the present and future, but the past as well — something which is, perhaps, given every human being — this too must be earned, and this probably entails the hardest work of all” (Letters to Milena 217). Two figures in the Yiddish theater: “people who are Jews in an especially pure form because they live only in the religion, but live in it without effort, understanding, or distress. They seem to make a fool of everyone, laugh immediately after the murder of a noble Jew, sell themselves to an apostate, dance with their hands on their earlocks in delight when the unmasked murderer poisons himself and calls upon God, and yet all this only because they are as light as a feather, sink to the ground under the slightest pressure, are sensitive, cry easily with dry faces (they cry themselves out in grimaces), but as soon as the pressure is removed haven’t the slightest specific gravity but must bounce right back up in the air” (Diaries 64 -65). Kafka describes himself as an alienated Western Jew, but is fascinated by the lightness and immediacy of the Eastern Jew in the Yiddish theater. Kafka, Franz. Letters to Milena. Tr. Philip Boehm. New York: Schocken Books, 1990.

Kafka describes Western Judaism as a community in decline. “Today when I heard the Kafka describes Western Judaism as a community in decline. “Today when I heard the moule’s assistant say the grace after meals and those present, aside from the two grandfathers, spent the time in dreams or boredom with a complete lack of understanding of the prayer, I saw Western European Judaism before me in a transition whose end is clearly unpredictable and about which those most closely affected are not concerned, but like all people truly in transition, bear what is imposed upon them. It is so indisputable that these religious forms which have reached their final end have merely a historical character, even as they are practised today, that only a short time was needed this very morning to interest the people present in the obsolete custom of circumcision and its half‑sung prayers by describing it to them as something out of history” (Diaries 147 -48, 24 Dec 1911). Circumcision has lost its meaning for Western European Jews.

For Kafka, Eastern European Jews still have a living and active community life. “Circumcision For Kafka, Eastern European Jews still have a living and active community life. “Circumcision in Russia: […] On the day before the circumcision the evil spirits are at their wildest. Therefore the night before is a watch night, and they spend it awake until the morning with the mother. The circumcision occurs often in the presence of over 100 relatives and friends. The most honored of the guests is allowed to hold the child. The circumciser, who carries out his office without compensation, is usually a drunkard, as he is so busy that he cannot attend the feasts and only has time to drink some schnaps. All of these circumcisers therefore have a red nose and have bad breath. It is thus not very appetizing when, after the cut has been completed, this mouth is used to suck on the bloody member, as is required. The member is then covered with sawdust and heals in 3 days. […] so it is even more peculiar to the Jews that they come together at every possible opportunity, whether to pray or to study or to discuss divine matters or to eat holiday meals whose basis is usually a religious one and at which alcohol is drunk only very moderately. They flee to one another, so to speak” (Diaries 152, 25 Dec 1911). Kafka describes circumcision for Eastern European Jews as a bizarre but vital community ritual.

Kafka describes the barrier of incomprehension that separates the Eastern from the Western Jews. Kafka describes the barrier of incomprehension that separates the Eastern from the Western Jews. “The Eastern Jews’ contempt for the Jews here. Justification for this contempt. The way the Eastern Jews know the reason for their contempt, but the Western Jews do not. For example, the appalling notions, beyond all ridicule, by which Mother tries to comprehend them. Even Max, the inadequacy and feebleness of his speech, unbuttoning and buttoning his jacket. And after all, he is full of the best good will. In contrast a certain Wiesenfeld, buttoned into a shabby little jacket, a collar that it would have been impossible to make filthier worn as his holiday best, braying yes and no, yes and no. A diabolically unpleasant smile around his mouth, wrinkles in his young face, wild and embarrassed movements of his arms. But the best one is a little fellow, a walking argument, with a sharp voice impossible to modulate, one hand in his pocket, boring towards the listeners with the other, constantly asking questions and immediately proving what he sets out to prove. Canary voice. Tosses his head. I, as if made of wood, a clothes‑rack pushed into the middle of the room. And yet hope” (Diaries 332, 11 Mar 1915). Though he is a Western Jew, Kafka sides with the Eastern Jews. He describes the gestures that reveal how the Western Jews’ cannot understand the Eastern Jews. Kafka feels himself to be helpless in the midst of the conflict.

Kafka attempts to dissolve the barrier between Eastern and Western Judaism in his engagement Kafka attempts to dissolve the barrier between Eastern and Western Judaism in his engagement with Yiddish theater and language. Kafka organizes a set of dramatic readings by the Yiddish actor, Yitzhak Löwy, for the Bar Kochba Society in which he • convinces the members to put on the event • drafts the program and sets up the stage • numbers the seats and sells the tickets • writes and presents an “Introductory Talk on the Yiddish Language” that precedes the performance (Diaries 180 -81).

Kafka seeks to create, not an understanding, but a temporary intuition of Yiddish culture Kafka seeks to create, not an understanding, but a temporary intuition of Yiddish culture in his Western Jewish audience. “no explanation on the spur of the moment can be of any help to you” [there are] “active in yourselves forces and associations with forces that enable you to understand Yiddish intuitively. ” • The entrance into the Yiddish language cannot be based on explanation, but an intuitive communion with forces of the self. “many of you are so frightened of Yiddish that one can almost see it in your faces. ” • Western alienation creates a fear of the Yiddish language. “once Yiddish has taken hold of you and moved you […], you will come to feel the true unity of Yiddish, and so strongly that it will frighten you, yet it will no longer be fear of Yiddish but of yourselves. You would not be capable of bearing this fear on its own, but Yiddish instantly gives you, besides, a self-confidence that can stand up to this fear and is even stronger than it is. ” • Immersion in Yiddish creates an intuition of the frightening power of forces already in oneself that also offer self-confidence. “Enjoy this self-confidence as much as you can! but then, when it fades out, tomorrow and later — for how could it last, fed only on the memory of a single evening’s recitations! — then my wish for you is that you may also have forgotten the fear. For we did not set out to punish you. ” • Participation in the power of Yiddish culture is limited by the fundamental estrangement of Western Judaism from an active cultural tradition. Kafka, Franz. “Talk on the Yiddish Language. ” In Reading Kafka: Prague, Politics, and the “Fin de Siècle. ” Ed. Mark Anderson. New York: Schocken Books, 1989. 263 -66.

Max Brod dates Kafka’s view that the Western and the Eastern aspects of Judaism Max Brod dates Kafka’s view that the Western and the Eastern aspects of Judaism were incompatible to the period preceding the writing of “In the Penal Colony. ” • Kafka’s insistence on his own Western Jewish separation from the community spirit of Eastern Judaism leads in 1913 to the only serious quarrel between the two during their long friendship. • Brod saw this conflict to be the result of their differing ideas as to whether Western Jewish individualistic attitudes might be reconciled with an Eastern Jewish community spirit (Brod 112‑ 113). Brod, Max. Franz Kafka: A Biography. Tr. G. Humphreys Roberts and Richard Winston. New York: Schocken Books, l 960.

20 th century German culture is dominated by the conflict between an individualist ethic 20 th century German culture is dominated by the conflict between an individualist ethic and a concern for community. • The ethic of individual striving of Goethe’s Faust replaced a Christian ethic to establish a new type of morality in German culture. • Franz Kafka reacted to the deterioration of community life that accompanied the rise of the individualist ethic. • “In the Penal Colony” presents in the officer and the explorer an intractable conflict between a primitive Eastern Jewish culture and a civilized Western Jewish culture.

Though the narrator is in a similar position of knowledge about the colony as Though the narrator is in a similar position of knowledge about the colony as the explorer, the narrator still has a distinct perspective. Opening Lines of “In the Penal Colony” The third-person narrator voices the same bemusement as the explorer would have about the officer’s “air of admiration” for what must be familiar to him and the emptiness of the valley. “It’s a remarkable piece of apparatus, ” said the officer to the explorer and surveyed with a certain air of admiration the apparatus which was after all quite familiar to him. The explorer seemed to have accepted merely out of politeness the Commandant’s invitation to witness the execution of a soldier condemned to death for disobedience and insulting behavior to a superior. Nor did the colony itself betray much interest in this execution. At least, in the small sandy valley, a deep hollow surrounded on all sides by naked crags, there was no one present save the officer, the explorer, the condemned man… (213). Yet, the narrator is not in the mind of the explorer because the narrator can only make conjectures about the explorer’s intentions. Kafka, Franz. “In the Penal Colony. ” Trans. Willa and Edwin Muir. The Complete Stories. New York: Schocken, 1971. Reprinted in The Human and Its Others: Divinity, Society, Nature. Humanities Core Course Guide and Reader. Ed. David T. Pan. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2010. 213 -229.

The narrator has the same bewilderment and poses the same kind of questions as The narrator has the same bewilderment and poses the same kind of questions as the explorer. the condemned man, who was a stupidlooking, wide-mouthed creature with bewildered hair and face, and the soldier who held the heavy chain controlling the small chains locked on the prisoner’s ankles, wrists, and neck, chains that were themselves attached to each other by communicating links (213). The narrator: • points out that the chains seem to have an ornamental as well as a practical function. • reproduces with this remark the explorer’s attention to this anomaly. These were tasks that might well have been left to a mechanic, but the officer performed them with great zeal, whether because he was a devoted admirer of the apparatus or because of other reasons the work could be entrusted to no one else (213). The narrator: • has no insight into the inner motives of the officer. • makes conjectures similar to the ones the explorer must be making.

The narrator’s perspective shifts after the death of the officer. …through the forehead went The narrator’s perspective shifts after the death of the officer. …through the forehead went the point of the great iron spike. * * * As the explorer, with the soldier and the condemned man behind him, reached the first houses of the colony, the soldier point to one of them and said: “There is the teahouse. ” (228 -29) • After the death of the officer, the story could end. • But instead the gaze of the narrator shifts and the explorer suddenly becomes the focus of the narrator’s attention. In the original German edition, these three stars were inserted in the text here as a separation (In der Strafkolonie 246). Kafka, Franz. In der Strafkolonie. Franz Kafka Kritische Ausgabe. Ed. Juergen Born, Gerhard Neumann, Malcolm Pasley, and Jost Schillemeit. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1982 -94. Kafkas Werke im WWW. Web. 18 January 2011.

The officer and explorer have diverging presuppositions about the process of judgment. The explorer The officer and explorer have diverging presuppositions about the process of judgment. The explorer expects that the sentence is part of a discursive process in which the prisoner • understands the sentence conceptually • presents arguments in his defense. “Does he know his sentence? ” “No, ” said the officer, eager to go on with his exposition, but the explorer interrupted him: “He doesn’t know the sentence that has been passed on him? ” “No, ” said the officer again, pausing a moment as if to let the explorer elaborate his question, and then said: “There would be no point in telling him. He’ll learn it on his body. ” The explorer intended to make no answer, but he felt the prisoner’s gaze turned on him; it seemed to ask if he approved such goings-on. So he bent forward again, having already leaned back in his chair, and put another question: “But surely he know that he has been sentenced? ” “Nor that either, ” said the officer, smiling at the explorer as if expecting him to make further surprising remarks. “No, ” said the explorer, wiping his forehead, “then he can’t know either whether his defense was effective? ” “He has had no chance of putting up a defense, ” said the officer, turning his eyes away as if speaking to himself and so sparing the explorer the shame of hearing self-evident matters explained. “But he must have had some chance of defending himself, ” said the explorer, and rose from his seat. (215 -16) The officer rejects the discursive understanding of justice and • sees the judgment as a bodily experience • considers his view to be selfevident and not needing explanation

The explorer focuses on the content of the sentence while the officer focuses on The explorer focuses on the content of the sentence while the officer focuses on the form. “And the harrow is the instrument for the actual execution of the sentence. ” “And how does the sentence run? ” asked the explorer. “that such an important visitor should not even be told about the kind of sentence we pass is a new development, which—” “Our sentence does not sound severe. Whatever commandment the prisoner has disobeyed is written upon his body by the Harrow. This prisoner, for instance, ”—the officer indicated the man—”will have written on his body: HONOR THY SUPERIORS!” (215) The explorer is interested in the content of the sentence. The officer is interested in the form of the sentence.

20 th century German culture is dominated by the conflict between an individualist ethic 20 th century German culture is dominated by the conflict between an individualist ethic and a concern for community. • The ethic of individual striving of Goethe’s Faust replaced a Christian ethic to establish a new type of morality in German culture. – – – 19 th century reactions condemned Goethe’s Faust for its anti-Christian tendencies. Beginning with German unification in 1871, critics began to see Faust as a model for German identity. The individualist ethic of Goethe’s Faust reaches its peak in the Nazi period • • • Franz Kafka’s work presents a reaction to the deterioration of community life that accompanied the rise of the individualist ethic. – Kafka’s work thematizes the conflict between an individual-focused culture and a community-based culture. • • • – – Though born into an assimilated Jewish family, Kafka became interested in Czech anarchism and Jewish traditions. Kafka was interested in a Zionism that promoted community over individualism and “life” over concepts and arguments. Kafka notes a contradiction between the alienation of the intellectual and the vitality of Yiddish folk culture. The opposition between Western and Eastern Jews dominates Kafka’s conception of himself. • • Kafka describes Western Judaism as a community in decline. For Kafka, Eastern European Jews still have a living and active community life. Kafka describes the barrier of incomprehension that separates the Eastern from the Western Jews. • • amongst established Goethe scholars in the Nazi period. and amongst Nazi Goethe critics who repeated the arguments of earlier scholars. Kafka attempts to dissolve the barrier between Eastern and Western Judaism in his engagement with Yiddish theater and language. Kafka seeks to create, not an understanding, but a temporary intuition of Yiddish culture in his Western Jewish audience. Max Brod dates Kafka’s view that the Western and the Eastern aspects of Judaism were incompatible to the period preceding the writing of “In the Penal Colony. ” “In the Penal Colony” presents in the officer and the explorer an intractable conflict between a primitive Eastern Jewish culture and a civilized Western Jewish culture. – The narrator shifts between the perspective of the officer and the perspective of the explorer. • • • – Though the narrator is in a similar position of knowledge about the colony as the explorer, the narrator still has a distinct perspective. The narrator has the same bewilderment and poses the same kind of questions as the explorer. The narrator’s perspective shifts after the death of the officer. The officer and explorer have diverging presuppositions about the process of judgment. • • The explorer expects a discursive process and the officer expects a bodily experience. The explorer focuses on the content of the sentence while the officer focuses on the form.