“[Kafka’s] vision is more stark, more painful, more obviously universal than that of his peers.”
Literary criticism frequently concerns itself with how the novel, the poem, the play, illuminates some recess of human nature, with what eternal verities have been restated with due eloquence. We do not ask these questions of architecture. If we approach a building by Le Corbusier or Gaudi, a Landscape by Capability Brown, the Duomo in Florence, we are not asking “How are they dipping into some great reservoir of Universality?” Instead: What has been done with space, with light, with persective. We marvel that something newly beautiful has arisen. We ask: “what new possibilities of play or work, worship or contemplation have been enabled?” Perhaps our approach to literature should have something of this attitude. Not what has been represented or restated, but what has been created and inaugurated - what has been done with language, what has been enabled, reconfigured, what it is like to enter or inhabit..