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Sartre, Kafka and the Universality of the Literary Work

Jo Bogaerts

French existentialism is commonly regarded as the main impetus for the universal significance that Kafka gained in postwar France. A leading critic, Marthe Robert, has contended that this entailed an outright rejection of interest in the biographical, linguistic and historical dimension of Kafka's writing in order to interpret it as a general expression of the human condition. This article will consider this claim in the light of Sartre's original conceptualization of a dialectic of the universal and the particular in the intercultural mediation of the work of art. The notion of a 'true universality' proposed by Sartre as a defence of Kafka during the 1962 Moscow Peace Conference will allow for a reassessment of Robert's criticism in a paradoxical reversal of terms: it is precisely the inevitable loss of context and the appropriation within one's own particular situation which allow the literary work to elucidate a foreign historical context and thereby gain a wider significance. Rather than a universal meaning of the work, Sartre's concept points to literature's potential to continually release specific meanings in new contexts.

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Marcel Mauss’s ‘Internal Critique of the “Legend of Abraham”’

Adeel Hamza and John Gannon

position in metropolitan France during Durkheim’s time was carved out by James Darmesteter, who thought – in line with his teacher, Ernest Renan – that traditional Judaism ‘contained the seeds of a true universal religion’, which needed to be teased out of

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What Can Rabbinic Depictions of Ruth's Conversion Teach Us about the Importance of Belief in Judaism?

Maciej ‘Mati’ Kirschenbaum

century CE into supersessionism, which defined Christianity as the true, universal Israel in opposition to rabbinic Judaism. 66 In response to these Christian universalist claims, early rabbinic literature emphasised the elements of Judaism that has

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Bridging the Political Gaps

The Interdiscursive Qualities of Political Romanticism in the Weimar Republic

Christian E. Roques

point of origin and the homeland of the new and true universalism , which will appear beyond liberalism and reconcile freedom with community. The real true Reich as dynamism will subsume the bourgeois thesis with its liberal parliamentarianism and the