In this novel, a protagonist known only as K. arrives in a village governed by a mysterious bureaucracy operating in a nearby castle. Like much of Kafka's work, The Castle is enigmatic. “Is it an allegory of the sprawling Austro-Hungarian Empire as it disintegrates into modern nation states, or a quasi-feudal system giving way to a new freedom for the subject? Is it the search by a central European Jew for acceptance and integration into a dominant culture? Is it a spiritual quest for grace or salvation, or an individual s struggle between his sense of independence and his need for approval? Is K. is an opportunist, a victim, or an outsider battling against an elusive authority? Is the Castle a benign source of authority or a whimsical system of control? Like K., the reader is presented with conflicting perspectives that rehearse the existential dilemmas and uncertainties of literary modernity.” (John Williams, Wordsworth Classics Edition, Introduction)
This book will be discussed over two meetings. This is the second of two.