285 pages


Genre: Literature, Philosophy, Nonfiction, Essay
In a web of holes: Kafka re-read against the grain

Kafka did not collect his manuscripts. He squandered them and left behind fragments. The famous novel fragment The Trial has no definite chapter order. The two other novels The Missing Person and The Castle also remained fragments and create an atmosphere in which the boundary between real threat and paranoia becomes blurred. If for Kafka his own writing was the matrix to which reality was to be brought into a relationship of congruence  –  and if not, what he had written was destroyed immediately or later at his request  –  he drilled so many holes in it until there was no way through. The web of holes is the matrix, and it is reality: "The light shone down in a hard blow, tearing apart the web that fled on all sides, burning mercilessly through the remaining empty large-mesh net. Below, like a caught animal, the earth twitched and stood still. One under the spell of the other, they looked at each other. And the third, shying away from the encounter, moved aside". The prophetic aspect of this quote, which describes the moment of panic-stricken contactless touch, is the non-prophetic aspect. Kafka is not saying what he sees, but what he knows.

German title: Kafka
ISBN: 978-3-7518-3015-7
Publisher: Matthes & Seitz Berlin
Publication date: 2024
Print run: 2
Series: Fröhliche Wissenschaft Vol. 229



Marcus Steinweg, born in Koblenz in 1971, is a philosopher, lives in Berlin and is Professor of Art and Theory at the Karlsruhe Art Academy. He has been working with the artists Thomas Hirschhorn and Rosemarie Trockel since the 1990s and produces his own philosophical conceptual diagrams. Many of his texts and lectures operate at the interface between art and philosophy.

Sonja Dierks, born 1970, studied Modern German Literature, Musicology and Philosophy in Freiburg and Basel. Doctorate in 2001 at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg with Es gibt Gespenster. Betrachtungen zu Kafkas Erzählung (2003).