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08 JANUARY 2014

Kafka's Wound by Will Self

"I am guilty of an association of ideas; or rather: I am guilty–that's a given, and in casting about for the source of my guilt I find I cannot prevent myself from linking one idea with another purely on the basis of their contiguity, in time, in place, in my own mind. It's not only ideas I connect like this, I do it with images, sensory impressions and the most epiphenomenal of mental glitches. Hume writes in his An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding that the imagination is best conceived of as a combinatorial faculty: there is nothing intrinsically imaginative about the idea of 'gold', nor the idea of 'mountain', but join them together and you have a fantastically gleaming 'gold mountain'. And might not that gold mountain be the Laurenziberg in Prague? After all, it looms over contemporary Prague–under its Czech language moniker, the Petřín–just as it loomed in the consciousness of Franz Kafka, whose earliest surviving narrative fragment, 'Description of a Struggle', is in part an account of a phantasmagorical ascent of its slopes: 'But now the cool light which precedes the rising of the moon spread over the mountain and suddenly the moon itself appeared from beyond one of the restless bushes. I on the other hand had meanwhile been gazing in another direction, and when I now looked ahead of me and suddenly saw it glowing in its almost full roundness, I stood still with troubled eyes, for my precipitous road seemed to lead straight into this terrifying moon.'"

(Kafka's Wound by Will Self)

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TAGS

associative • associative logic • between people and things • combinatorial faculty • contiguity • Czech language • Czech RepublicDavid Hume • epiphenomenal • essay • fantastically gleaming • Franz Kafkaglitch • gold mountain • hypermedia • idea association • imaginationinformation visualisationinterlinking • linking one idea with another • linking structure • London Review of Books • mental glitch • moonnodal structureorganisational relationship • Petrin • phantasmagoricalPraguerelatednessrhizomatic associationsrhizome • sensory impressions • similitude • Will Self

CONTRIBUTOR

Anna Troisi
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