Friday, December 31, 2021

Yours Truly, Franz Kafka

If you’ve ever tuned to Radio Classics, channel 148 on Sirius FM, you may have come upon Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, a series that ran from l949-62. It’s radio noir, about an insurance investigator whose adversaries and counterparts in law enforcement, address him as “Dollar.” It’s interesting since Franz Kafka was an insurance claims investigator, though an unlikely model for any hard-boiled dramatizations on Czech radio. One of the leitmotifs of the radio series is the list of expenses, taxis, hotel bills, air fare, that bookend the episodes. For "Franz Kafka, insurance investigator" the recurring theme seems to have been the deferral of gratification. After forming a relationship with Felice Bauer, he quickly cut short the engagement, opting instead for letter writing which created one degree of separation.  In his Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, Oliver Burkeman uses the relationship as a dramatic example of the denial of the finitude which casts a shadow on all human behavior. “Confining his relationship with Bauer to the realm of letters meant that he could cling to the possibility of a life of intimacy with her without allowing it to compete with his mania for work, as a real-life relationship necessarily would.”  Next week tune in to another episode of Yours Truly, Franz Kafka?

Read "Paris Journal VII: Madame Ovary,

and listen to "Monkey Time"(1963) by Major Lance

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.