‘To Live Outside the Trial’ Anarchist Implications in Foucauldian Readings of Franz Kafka’s In the Penal Colony and The Trial

Autumn 2018

Contemporary readings of Franz Kafka’s works often remark on the affinity between the ideas present in Kafka’s texts and those of postmodern philosophers such as Michel Foucault. Through an examination of some recent Foucauldian readings of In the Penal Colony and The Trial, this article argues that Kafka’s engagement with anarchist theory, particularly that of Peter Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin and Gustav Landauer, may be considered an unacknowledged source for the well-documented ‘postmodern’ aspect to his work.