In: World Literature Studies, vol. 14, no. 2
Year, pages: 2022, 85 - 102
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Franz Kafka. Jiří Langer. Minor literature. Czech literature. Hebrew literature. LGBT literature.
Article type: štúdie / articles
Document type: pdf
Taking Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s theory of minor literature as a starting point, this article moves from their opposition of “major/minor” literatures to their “tetralinguistic” model of vernacular, vehicular, referential, and mythic language. It presents the work of the polyglot poet and Hasidic scholar Jiří Langer to offer a multifaceted view of three distinct contexts: the theoretical discourse of minor literature, the literary milieu of interwar Prague, and the history of gay Czech and Jewish writing. Langer appears in Franz Kafka ’s diaries and letters over a period of several years as a source of information on Jewish culture, as well as a personal contact to prominent rabbis from the east. Two decades later, Langer produced his own remarkable work in Czech, Devĕt bran (Nine Gates, 1937), a popular-scholarly study of Hasidic traditions based on his experience in the Galician town of Belz. Much of what is known today about Jiří Langer’s unconventional life comes from the memoirs of his brother František, published as a foreword for the English translation of the book. However, it was only in recent years that Langer’s Hebrew poetry has also become available to English-speaking readers, revealing his linguistic strategies that draw on mystical traditions in the attempt to form a modern synthesis of Jewish homosexual identity. Jiří Langer’s literary activity shows Prague as a site of self-definition through multilingualism, rather than the more familiar image of Kafka ’s “deterritorialization”.
How to cite:
Sabatos, C. 2022. Prague beyond Kafka: Rethinking minor literature through the work of Jiří Langer. In World Literature Studies, vol. 14, no.2, pp. 85-102. 1337-9275. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31577/WLS.2022.14.2.6
Sabatos, C. (2022). Prague beyond Kafka: Rethinking minor literature through the work of Jiří Langer. World Literature Studies, 14(2), 85-102. 1337-9275. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31577/WLS.2022.14.2.6
Publisher: ÚSvL SAV, v. v. i.
Published: 30. 6. 2022