The Limitation of Bildung—On the Relation of Reason and Dis/Order in Franz Kafka’s Der Verschollene

Fabian Bauer


In Der Verschollene, Franz Kafka examines whether the concept of self-realization, as developed in the tradition of the Bildungsroman since Goethe, can still exist in the complex world of the 20th century. My article reflects on metaphors of order and disorder that permeate the novel and are contrasted in different social spaces along Karl Roßmann’s educational path. By means of this tension, Kafka focuses on the crisis of free individuality experienced in modern civilization, in which repressive principles of reason determine the social order. My goal is to show how Kafka updates the genre tradition by formulating a modern but grim idea of ‘Bildung.’ (FB)

View Full Text

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.