bachelardheader

Kafka porn contest

Patient readers!  I promised a Kafka contest, and here it is.  In the course of researching my recent Kafka article, I was interested to learn about a 2008 Kafka pornography scandal, provoked by the publication of James Hawes’s Excavating Kafka (the US title of which, Why You Should Read Kafka before You Waste Your Life, makes me proud to be an American).  As the Guardian put it:

At the focus of Hawes’ investigation are pictures he stumbled across in the British Library in London and the Bodleian in Oxford of the pornography to which Kafka subscribed while in his twenties. They include images of a hedgehog-style creature performing fellatio, golem-like male creatures grasping women’s breasts with their claw-like hands and a picture of a baby emerging from a sliced-open leg.

Myriad questions came to my mind.  Whom or what was that hedgehog-style creature fellating?  Was the Guardian being anti-Semitic when they called that breast-grasping creature a Golem?  And who wants to see a baby coming out of someone’s leg?  I consulted Google for answers and came across a terrifically helpful blog post which identifies and reproduces Aubrey Beardsley’s representation of a very angry-looking baby being removed from some guy’s leg (below), as per the description, in Lucian’s second-century proto-sci-fi hit True History, of how children are birthed on the Moon:

lucian.jpg

Gratifying as this was, I was still really curious about that hedgehog and its unknown partner, which continued to elude my Googling skills for some time.  One respected Kafka expert, to whom I broached the subject, basically counseled me to give up: “I think we can assume that the hedgehog was [performing these acts upon] another hedgehog, no? Isn’t that porn reportage protocol?  You assume they’re of the same species, unless otherwise noted.”  Well, Sir, that certainly isn’t my reportage protocol.  And I’m glad it isn’t.  Because, OK, don’t click on the link if you’re under 18 (believe me kiddo, it can wait), but I eventually found the picture, and, although I can’t tell you exactly what the soi-disant “hedgehog” is pleasuring, I can state with confidence that it is definitely not another soi-disant “hedgehog.”

As is often the case with Kafka, the more I learned, the more questions remained unanswered.  What was that thing?  Why was it behaving that way?  Are such images “porn, pure and simple,” or are they, as Reiner Stach has suggested, mere “playful representations”?

Hoping to penetrate some of these mysteries, I addressed myself to valued reader and colleague Dimiter Kenarov, author of the Bulgarian bestselling poetry volume Апокрифни животни (Apocryphal Animals), the proceeds of which are diverted to the Sofia Zoo, where they have already financed a new swing for the monkeys.  Kenarov suggested that the illustration represented some form of “apocryphal evolution,” but that, more significantly, one had perhaps stumbled upon “a whole new porn genre: Kafka Sex. There is money in here. For example, undressing a person only to find new and new layers of clothing underneath.”

I hereby decree this the first official entry in the My Life and Thoughts Kafka porn contest.  Please send in your best ideas for this lucrative new genre, which may or may not eventually benefit in some way the monkeys in the Sofia Zoo.  Submit your entry using either the comments section below, or this contact form, by next Tuesday October 5.  The winner will be eligible for amazing prizes, most notably my king-size bed (MALM bedframe ($249), SULTAN ELSFJORD latex mattress ($599), and SULTAN LADE slatted bed-base ($50)): a $900 value!  I only used it for a year and I wasn’t even home half the time!

The bed must be collected from my apartment in San Francisco on October 7 or 8.

If you can’t think of any Kafka porn ideas, but would still like to own this enormous, luxurious, and extremely desirable bed, please contact me ASAP with your best cash offer.  Conversely, if you would like to enter the contest but don’t want the bed, you may elect to receive another prize, such as an Australian edition of The Possessed, an attractively bound Turkish translation of Eugene Onegin, or a medium-sized coffee-table.

Far-flung readers!  I think the time has come for me to disclose that, as of November 1, I will be beginning a 9-month post as writer-in-residence at Koç University in Istanbul.  This is why all the furniture needs to go, fast.  As of October 11 I’m going to be on tour on the East Coast (dates here), and will be heading straight to Turkey afterwards.

To all my friends in the Bay Area—I really hope to see some of you at my last SF appearance for a while, at Litquake on Oct 7, where I will be on an extremely auspicious-looking panel called Feminine Wiles.  If you’d like a souvenir of your favorite local D-list writer, just make me an offer for a bookcase, desk, filing cabinet, or microwave.  Everything I can’t get rid of by the end of next week goes to the Salvation Army.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to “Kafka porn contest”

  1. J.P. Toben Says:

    On board a ship sailing from Africa, the pretty, slim, blond son of the captain sneaks below decks to befriend and teach the gigantic “ape” in the cage to speak and behave like a man, trading a stroke of his massive organ (his throat, of course) for each word he pronounces correctly. Eventually, the ape teaches his teacher a thing or two about how they do things in the jungle. (Scene 1 of “Report of a Black Sodomy”)

  2. Leo Says:

    Joseph K in the penal colony; naked, gagged, and strapped into the Harrow, whose needles have been cleverly replaced by something else. Leni is the Commandant, about to give the go-ahead, as an Assistant from the Castle sucks her webbed hand, while the Schoolteacher mercileslly whips him from behind.

  3. SW Foska Says:

    I’m worried about the first animal (the fellator) being described as a ’soi-disant hedgehog’. Where did he/she make this declaration? I would be hard pushed to identify it as a hedgehog at all, not least because it has no pricks – in either sense of the word.
    The other one (the fellatee) reminds me vaguely of the famous vegetable Lamb of Tartary (http://jpolka.blogspot.com/2007/06/vegetable-lamb-of-tartary.html)
    None of which amounts to much of a porn contest entry, I’m afraid. Apologies, SWF

  4. James Womack Says:

    A beautiful naked woman is standing in front of Mr. K. He approaches her, but she seems particularly shy. One peculiarity is that she always keeps her face towards him at the same angle: he can only see her in profile. He is intrigued and proposes marriage. She refuses. In their pas-de-deux , he eventually backs her up against a fireplace, and it is only as she catches and begins to shrivel that he realises she was two-dimensional, made of paper in fact.

    Also, is there any record of Kafka’s favourite position being ‘like a dog’?

  5. Scott Malcomson Says:

    “Before they were done, they came.” This sentence is obviously true, but one never reads it in any pornographic text, because the text must fool itself into having an ending. The end of sex is only an interruption of sex. Sex is eternal in its principal aspect: We are forever having sex. It is all we are doing, but we do not know that we are doing it. If it ever ends, pornography is what will remain.
    However, it will not end.

  6. Erik D. Says:

    Really, what could be more perverse, more full-on Kafka porn, than his five-year titillation and rejection of Felice?

  7. Matthew Menkevich Says:

    As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic cock.

  8. Dave Lull Says:

    Open Page: the Blog of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College

    . . . Elif Batuman, my new fave.
    October 6, 2010
    by Chauncey Mabe

    http://flcenterlitarts.wordpress.com/2010/10/06/atwoods-hockey-nobel-kafkas-porn-and-elif-batuman-my-new-fave/

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image CAPTCHA Audio
Refresh Image