The word "unfolding" has a double meaning

The word "unfolding" has a double meaning. A bud unfolds into a blossom, but the boat which one teachers children to make by folding paper unfolds into a flat sheet of paper. This second kind of "unfolding" is really appropriate to the parable; it is the reader's pleasure to smooth it out so that he has the meaning on the palm of his hand. Kafka's parables, however, unfold in the first sense, in the way a bud turns into a blossom. That is why their effect resembles poetry. This does not mean that his prose pieces belong entirely in the tradition of Western prose forms; they have, rather, a similar relationship to the doctrine as the Haggadah does to the Hakalah. They are not parables, and yet they do not want to be taken at their face value; they lend themselves to quotation and can be told for clairification. But do we have the doctrine which Kafka's parables interpret and which K's postures and the gestures of his animals clarify? It does not exist; all we can say is that here and there we have an allusion to it. Kafka might have said that these are relics transmitting the doctrine, although we could regard them just as well as precursors preparing the doctrine.

[Illuminations 122]






Related Fragments:
Unfolding
First Observation: Benjamin uses parable to explicate interpretation of parable The "unfolding" certainly does support the early thesis of the presentation that postmodern interpretative play is justified in reading Kafka's parables. Perhaps this actua...
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