Daniel Medin - That writers from such divergent national and ethnic traditions can have such unique critical readings of Kafka, and that Kafka could exert such a powerful influence over their oeuvres attests to the central place of Kafka in the contemporary literary imagination.


Daniel Medin, Three Sons: Franz Kafka and the Fiction of J. M. Coetzee, Philip Roth, and W. G. Sebald, Northwestern UP, 2010.


Franz Kafka was a self-conscious writer whose texts were highly if mysteriously autobiographical. Three giants of contemporary fiction—J. M. Coetzee, Philip Roth, and W. G. Sebald—have all acknowledged their debt to the work of Kafka, both in interviews and in their own academic essays and articles for a general readership about him. In this striking feat of literary scholarship, Daniel Medin finds that the use of Kafka by Coetzee, Roth, and Sebald is similarly self-reflexive and autobiographical. That writers from such divergent national and ethnic traditions can have such unique critical readings of Kafka, and that Kafka could exert such a powerful influence over their oeuvres, Medin contends, attests to the central place of Kafka in the contemporary literary imagination.


review by Carlo Salzani

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