When I graduated from Washington & Lee, the English department gave me a questionnaire to fill out that asked what improvements could be made to the teaching in the department to make it better for future generations of W&L students. In my answer, I stated that I wished there were courses that focused exclusively on the writings of Franz Kafka and Charles Dickens.
I had a special affinity for Kafka because his writing was exceptionally creative when it came to demonstrating how easily things that appear to be immutable (e.g. unconditional love) can quickly transform into something ugly the moment you cease to provide value. How can you top the opening line to The Metamorphosis when Kafka wrote: “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic bug.” As the family comes to regard the bug as a nuisance, we … Read the rest of this article!