We use the term Kafkaesque to describe bureaucracies and other social institutions with nightmarishly complex, illogical, or bizarre qualities – and in most biographies of Franz Kafka (1883-1924) we find that his life often mirrored the strangeness in his fiction. In this episode, host Jacke Wilson examines the origins of Kafka’s particular sensibility, suggests how those characteristics played out in Kafka’s life and art, and finally uncovers what may have been the greatest night of Kafka’s life.
For decades, the Master of Fine Arts degree has quietly dominated the American literary scene. There are now over 100 programs where professors and students go about the business of turning dreams into fiction through the alchemy – or as some would say, the meatgrinder – known as the writing workshop. It’s a phenomenon like no other in the history of literature. What goes on at these MFA programs? What good comes out of them? And what impact are they having on contemporary American literature? The President of the Literature Supporters Club joins Jacke for a discussion of MFA programs.