Literature as Pure Mediality: Kafka and the Scene of Writing
The utilization of an instrumental model that sees language as a means of bringing us towards fixed meaning is one of the greatest limitations in the human attempt to establish an authentic understanding of the dynamics of communication. An acceptance of language from this perspective constricts our ability to have an adequate confrontation, or more accurately, experience with an aesthetic work. In this text, Paul DeNicola explores the impact of conceiving the literature of Franz Kafka in light of the concept of "Pure Mediality" - an a-teleological approach that calls upon the thinking of continental philosophers from Nietzsche to Derrida. The author argues that Kafka recognizes the inherent violence in any conceptual understanding of language, and therefore conceives literary or poetic language as capable of an un-judging that deconstructs any previously judged version of the real. DeNicola contends that Kafka's literary work is an embrace of infinite relation, suspension of judgment and radical undecidabilty. His art of Pure Mediality is an art of alterity, constituting a wounding or opening by alterity that demands a response. It is this character of responsiveness to the other that implies ethical potentialities.Professor Paul DeNicola teaches philosophy at the European Graduate School (Switzerland) and is Associate Director of the Conference Board’s Corporate Governance Center in New York City.