Chapter

Introduction

June O. Leavitt

in The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199827831
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919444 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199827831.003.0009
Introduction

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This chapter presents two major implications that can be drawn from Kafka’s confession to Rudolph Steiner that he occasionally experienced states of clairvoyance while writing. First, Kafka’s prose necessarily contains indications of clairvoyant perception. Second of all, the fact that he deferred to Steiner’s explanation of clairvoyance suggests that Kafka was immersed in the occult discourse of his day, and this discourse would leave traces in his prose. Subsequently, this chapter aims to identify the indications of clairvoyant experience in Kafka’s prose while at the same time it draws attention to occult referents which may have shaped this experience. In addition to presenting definitions of “occult” “occultism” “mystic,” and “mysticism,” the chapter relates to trends in contemporary literary studies that are relevant to a discussion on the mystical life of Franz Kafka but have fallen short of elucidating the textuality of a clairvoyant writer.

Keywords: clairvoyance; Kafka; Kafka’s stories; Rudolph Steiner; theosophy; mysticism; mystical state; mystical experience; occult; occultism; spiritualism

Chapter.  6551 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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