It’s easy to think of Franz Kafka as a celibate, even asexual, writer. There is the notable lack of eroticism of any recognizable sort in so much of his work. There is the prominent biographical detail—integral to so many interpretations—of his outsized fear of his father, which serves to infantilize him in a way. There is the image, writes Spiked, of “a lonely seer too saintly for this rank, sunken world.” All of this, James Hawes writes in his Excavating Kafka, “is pure spin.”
Ernest Hemingway is Cuba’s most famous American resident. The author lived there for years, and when he left — quite suddenly in 1960, under pressure by U.S. authorities — he left much of the artifacts of his life there intact.
“Where other transgressive figures of the past have mostly been tamed,” wrote Josh Jones in a post here last year, “[Georges] Bataille, I submit, is still quite dangerous.” You can get a sense of that in the documentary featured there, À perte de vue, which introduces the transgressive French intellectual’s life and thought, which from the 1920s to the 1960s produced books like The Solar Anus, The Hatred of Poetry, and The Tears of Eros, all part of a body of work that captivated the likes of Susan Sontag, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida.
Libraries have always been places where people gathered for intellectual inquiry, where communities could form around emerging ideologies that challenged the status quo. Read the rest