Friday, December 9, 2011

Number Ten

Die richtige Erklärung ist aber die, daß ein großer Teufel in ihm Platz genommen hat und die Unzahl der kleineren herbeikommt, um dem Großen zu dienen.

The proper explanation is however this: that a great devil has taken up residence in him and countless throngs of smaller ones come along to serve the great one. [Kaiser/Wilkins]

The true explanation for his condition, however, is that a great devil has taken up residence within him, and an endless stream of smaller devils and deviltons are coming to offer the great one their services. [Hofmann]


I don't see where Hofmann gets "... devils and deviltons ... " Kafka speaks only of "kleineren," little ones. You see this all the time in versions of Kafka; people often want to doll him up with gargoyles and theatrical grotesquery for some reason. They want their Kafka "wet," not "dry."

A. is the seductive one because he is actually playing host to the greater evil. The foreign-ness of the lesser devils he mentioned earlier is part of this evil; they appear foreign to A. because he preserves his goodness by pretending to be a stranger to all evil. By refusing to allow evil to have any place in him or part of him, he inadvertantly cultivates a greater devil.

The lesser evils are drawn by the greater, and they seem to be the ones seduced into struggle with A. The struggle with women ends with both combatants in bed, not just one. The evil do not stand outside evil. Evil is never other.

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