The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka: Theosophy, Cabala, and the Modern Spiritual Revival

Hardcover | November 29, 2011

byJune O. Leavitt

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In a long-overlooked diary entry, Franz Kafka admitted to suffering from 'bouts of clairvoyance.' These bouts of clairvoyance can be seen in his writing, in moments when the solid basis of human cognition totters, the dissolution of matter seems imminent, and objects are jarringly severedfrom physical referents. June O. Leavitt offers a fascinating examination of the mystical in Kafka's life and writings, showing that Kafka's understanding of the occult was not only a product of his own clairvoyant experiences but of the age in which he lived.Kafka lived during the modern Spiritual Revival, a powerful movement which resisted materialism, rejected the adulation of science and Darwin, and idealized clairvoyant modes of consciousness. Kafka's contemporaries - such theosophical ideologues as Madame H.P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant, and Dr.Rudolph Steiner - encouraged the counterculture to seek the true, spiritual essence of reality by inducing out-of-body experiences and producing visions of higher disembodied beings through meditative techniques. Leaders of the Spiritual Revival also called for the adoption of certain lifestyles,such as vegetarianism, in order to help transform consciousness and return humanity to its divine nature. Interweaving the occult discourse on clairvoyance, the divine nature of animal life, vegetarianism, the spiritual sources of dreams, and the eternal nature of the soul with Kafka's dream-chronicles, animal narratives, diaries, letters, and stories, Leavitt takes the reader on a journey through thetexts of a great psychic writer and the fascinating epoch of the Spiritual Revival.

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In a long-overlooked diary entry, Franz Kafka admitted to suffering from ''bouts of clairvoyance.'' These bouts of clairvoyance can be seen in his writing, in moments when the solid basis of human cognition totters, the dissolution of matter seems imminent, and objects are jarringly severedfrom physical referents. June O. Leavitt offer...

June Leavitt is a freelance writer and researcher who has published fiction, scholarly works, and critically-acclaimed memoirs as well as articles that have appeared in major newspapers and magazines. She frequently teaches courses on mystical literature in religious traditions in the Overseas Program at Ben Gurion University of the N...

other books by June O. Leavitt

Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 0.12 × 0.12 × 0.12 inPublished:November 29, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199827834

ISBN - 13:9780199827831

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Table of Contents

1. Towards an Understanding of Kafka's Mystical Life2. Mystical Experience in Kafka's Early Prose3. Kafka's Meditation and the Materialization of a Spirit4. The Obsession with Dreams5. Kafka, the After-Life and Transmigration of Souls6. Cabala, Freemasonry and the Trials of Brother F.K.7. The Mystical Life of Animals: Investigations of a VegetarianConclusion: The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka in Perspective