The BBC has a story that the letters Kafka wrote to his sister and saved by her daughters will be on display at Oxford, and in doing so, apparently will be part of the effort to sure up their German credentials. From the story: ” the proposed partnership with Marbach, the University of Oxford will strengthen its position as an important centre for studies of German and Jewish literature and culture.” I would hope that the letters would be displayed because of the historical context, regardless of the diversity goalpost. But….no doubt this academic moment will be added to the long list of ‘The Uses of Kafka.”
It occurred to me while reading this little news story, that if all the banned works of all the banned writers, artists, musicians, scientists, journalists, and so on -( and- it’s a very long list- ) were brought together under one roof, there would be no roof on the planet big enough to house them.
That says something very important and not to be forgotten, yet we seem on the verge of forgetting. We are already on the downward slide watching the rise of anti-Semitism, especially in the U.K. Give it a new name with new attributes to disguise it, but even with its 21st century garb and modifiers, it is the same old problem. The cold reality is, we aren’t born with these prejudices, it has to be taught. I feel like asking is it the drinking water? Surely, it must be! Pathetic really. The answer is this: there is no building big enough to house this mess caused by intolerance, furthermore, no such building would ever be built, no matter how much it should be built, because to do so would we would have to admit the problem existed beyond the German borders and beyond the war. God forbid we should have to look at that. I need to look no further than the U.N. to realize that we are absolutely unlearning everything we should have learned.