The Life and Exceptional Work of Writer, Franz Kafka
A prolific writer who left a dent on his domain, Franz Kafka deserves to be considered for inclusion into Howard Gardner’s model of creativity. Just as Picasso revolutionized the domain of art with rule-breaking paintings of grotesque combinations of people’s emotional and visual interpretations of the world, Kafka, through his writing, delved into the emotions of a bleak and spiritually lacking World War I society and showed its pressures to crush individuality and conform to the norm. He did so by creating what society would define as “ugly, freakish images of people”, and then made those people the tragic heroes of his stories. Kafka changed his domain so much that the term “kafka-esque” was coined to describe any works that were as haunting or self-revealing as his own. Later writers were deeply influenced by his work, such as future Noble prize winning author Elias Canetti, who proclaimed this about “The Metamorphosis”: “In “The Metamorphosis” Kafka reached the height of his mastery: he wrote something that could never be surpassed, because there is nothing which “The Metamorphosis” could be surpassed by– one of the few great, perfect poetic works of this century.” (Kafka, 1996 pg. ix) Kafka’s astounding level of creativity does warrant an investigation into a possible place in Howard Gardner’s model. However, as stated before, Franz Kafka would not be a perfect fit.
Background on Kafka
“Please– consider me a dream.” Those words were spoken by Franz Kafka to the father of his lifelong friend Max Brod. (Baumer, pg. 2) Within that sentence, the entire theme of Kafka’s life is summed up. A lonely man who was terrified to reach the summit of his creat…
…wever, the structure of his life and his environment that produced these creations are inconsistent with Gardner’s model. This should not exclude him from consideration. Perhaps a few adjustments to the model are necessary. More creative thinkers in history exist that might have been unfairly excluded from the examples in Howard Gardner’s theory.
Baumer, Franz Franz Kafka New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co, 1971Brod, Max Franz Kafka: A Biography New York: Shocken Books Inc., 1960
Gardner, Howard. Creating minds. New York: Basic books, 1993.
Kafka, Franz Letter to His Father New York: Shocken Books, 1966
Kafka, Franz Letters to Ottla and the Family New York: Shocken Books, 1982
Kafka, Franz The Metamorphosis New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1996
Kuna, Franz On Kafka: Semi-centenary Perspectives New York: Harper & Row, 1976