By Richard T. Gray
The learn offers a radical research of Kafka's aphoristic writings, reading them in ter
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Additional info for Constructive destruction : Kafka's aphorisms, literary tradition, and literary transformation
Of Chicago Press, 1970). Vickers, p. 82. interconnection of the aphoristic grouping of thoughts and observations, as well as the autonomous status of each individual thought. Furthermore, this organic metaphor underscores the necessity of each element in the proper functioning of the whole. " For the aphorist in Bacon's sense, knowledge exists only in counterpoint to an admission of ignorance. Recognition of the "gaps" in one's understanding spurs the aphorist on to further investigation. 22 Much in the same way that Socrates applied his pose of ignorance in order to further the quest for knowledge and truth, the aphorist employs "ignorance" in the form of incomplete relations to motivate the search for, and discovery of, truth.
The common denominator of all these various applications of aphoristic expression is concern with the central aspects of human existence, be they physical, political, social, or spiritual. This involvement with "health" and the furthering of life-impulses remains a fundamental trait of the aphorism, and one which returns throughout its history. 10 Kafka's turn to aphoristic form in the crisis period after the diagnosis of tuberculosis, of course, takes on profound significance in this context. Respect for "life," then, and for its interests, however they may be defined, informs the use of the aphorism since its very inception.
760-1. Among those who refer to the general confusion surrounding assessments of the aphorism are Kurt Besser, Die Problematik der aphoristischen Form bei Lichtenberg, Friedrich Schlegel, Novalis und Nietzsche (Berlin: Junker und Dünnhaupt, 1935), pp. 9 & 15; Karl Hans Bühner, "Über den Aphorismus," Welt und Wort, 6 (1951), pp. 266-7; J. ," Neue deutsche Hefte, 5 (1958-59), p. 739; Franz Mautner, "Der Aphorismus als literarische Gattung," pp. 21-2; Ulrich Horstmann, "Der englische Aphorismus: Expeditionseinladung zu einer apokryphen Gattung," Poetica, 15 (1983), p.