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A Hunger Artist

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The last book published during Kafka's lifetime, A Hunger Artist (1924) explores many of the themes that were close to him: spiritual poverty, asceticism, futility, and the alienation of the modern artist. He edited the manuscript just before his death, and these four stories are some of his best known and most powerful work, marking his maturity as a writer. In addition t The last book published during Kafka's lifetime, A Hunger Artist (1924) explores many of the themes that were close to him: spiritual poverty, asceticism, futility, and the alienation of the modern artist. He edited the manuscript just before his death, and these four stories are some of his best known and most powerful work, marking his maturity as a writer. In addition to "First Sorrow," "A Little Woman," and "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse People" is the title story, "A Hunger Artist," which has been called by the critic Heinz Politzer "a perfection, a fatal fulfillment that expresses Kafka's desire for permanence." The three volumes Twisted Spoon Press has published: Contemplation, A Country Doctor, and A Hunger Artist are the collections of stories that Kafka had published during his lifetime. Though each volume has its own distinctive character, they have most often appeared in English in collected editions. They are presented here as separate editions, in new translations by Kevin Blahut, each with its own illustrator from the Prague community.


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The last book published during Kafka's lifetime, A Hunger Artist (1924) explores many of the themes that were close to him: spiritual poverty, asceticism, futility, and the alienation of the modern artist. He edited the manuscript just before his death, and these four stories are some of his best known and most powerful work, marking his maturity as a writer. In addition t The last book published during Kafka's lifetime, A Hunger Artist (1924) explores many of the themes that were close to him: spiritual poverty, asceticism, futility, and the alienation of the modern artist. He edited the manuscript just before his death, and these four stories are some of his best known and most powerful work, marking his maturity as a writer. In addition to "First Sorrow," "A Little Woman," and "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse People" is the title story, "A Hunger Artist," which has been called by the critic Heinz Politzer "a perfection, a fatal fulfillment that expresses Kafka's desire for permanence." The three volumes Twisted Spoon Press has published: Contemplation, A Country Doctor, and A Hunger Artist are the collections of stories that Kafka had published during his lifetime. Though each volume has its own distinctive character, they have most often appeared in English in collected editions. They are presented here as separate editions, in new translations by Kevin Blahut, each with its own illustrator from the Prague community.

59 review for A Hunger Artist

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    When . . . some leisurely passer-by stopped . . . and spoke of cheating, that was in its way the stupidest lie ever invented by indifference and inborn malice, since it was not the hunger artist who was cheating, he was working honestly, but the world was cheating him of his reward. The main character is a professional, fasting artist. His manager takes him from town to town across Europe, locks him in a straw filled cage for forty days, and advertises his feat of hunger, drawing large crowds When . . . some leisurely passer-by stopped . . . and spoke of cheating, that was in its way the stupidest lie ever invented by indifference and inborn malice, since it was not the hunger artist who was cheating, he was working honestly, but the world was cheating him of his reward. The main character is a professional, fasting artist. His manager takes him from town to town across Europe, locks him in a straw filled cage for forty days, and advertises his feat of hunger, drawing large crowds. He becomes indignant when the town would assign men, usually butchers, to watch him to make sure he is not cheating. As time goes on, interest in his form of entertainment wains, and he ends up working for a circus, still fasting, but now his cage is nestled among the wild animals outside the main arena. Why would anyone want to be a professional hunger artist? Interesting that he refers to himself as an artist, which would imply creating something or doing something. I’m not sure not doing something really counts, but it shows how he sees himself and why he is so indignant when people do not recognize his sacrifice for his art. So pride is a big part of what drives him to starve himself. He wants to show the world that he can deprive himself, and he wishes he could go longer than forty days, but part of the spectacle is the ending of the fast when people watch him removed from the cage and put before his first meal. He admits something that also changes the perception of what he does. “If I had found [the food I liked], believe me, I should have made no fuss and stuffed myself like you or anyone else.” So giving up food isn’t really a sacrifice for him, not in the way it would be for me, anyway. I’m sure he still has the gnawing hunger and the flurries of desperations that accompany the craving for food. I understand someone fasting to bring attention to an injustice, maybe their own; maybe they have been unjustly incarcerated. Gandhi might be one of the most famous “hunger artists,” but he was trying to change the world. Going to see someone intentionally depriving himself of food to entertain people is about as interesting to me as going to see a beheading or a hanging. I don’t see other people’s misfortunes, or in the case of the hunger artist someone intentionally torturing themselves, as a form of amusement for myself. Paul Theroux talks about people going on “safari” in Africa to experience what he calls poverty porn. They would intentionally drive into the poverty stricken areas of Africa to see the desperate situations in which the very poorest people on earth are trying to exist, trying not to die from hunger or exposure due to drought, civil war, or any number of reasons beyond their control. * A bone shaking shudder along with a healthy dose of loathing for those entertained by poverty.* Franz Kafka by R. Crumb. The moral of this story revolves around the pitfalls of the hunger artist’s pride. I also believe that Franz Kafka is casting a light on those who are entertained by his starvation. This short story is considered one of his masterpieces, which as I was writing this review and accessing my emotional response to the story, I have to say, mission accomplished, Mr. Kafka. It is so tragic that he died at age 40, long before he reached the zenith of his abilities. What masterpieces died with him when the final flicker of neurons in his brilliant brain went dark forever? If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 5 out of 5

    Petra-X

    What he did for fame. What he did to prove himself. How some people take things to extremes and then find the thing itself has taken them over. How pointless it is to die for something so petty. How perhaps the clarity of imminent mortality makes the protagonist confess the true reason for his self-starvation. If he did, if it was. Or if it was really about that at all? Was it really about the existential pleasure of living for the day and enjoying what there is? Or perhaps it was about if a tre What he did for fame. What he did to prove himself. How some people take things to extremes and then find the thing itself has taken them over. How pointless it is to die for something so petty. How perhaps the clarity of imminent mortality makes the protagonist confess the true reason for his self-starvation. If he did, if it was. Or if it was really about that at all? Was it really about the existential pleasure of living for the day and enjoying what there is? Or perhaps it was about if a tree falls in the forest but no one is there to see it... A novella, or a long short story it is of infinite depth and endless interpretation. But then that's the genius of Kafka all over. Updated 10 May 2015

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gaurav

    He, who had been cheered by thousands, could not now show himself in booths in little travelling fairs, and as far as taking another profession was concerned, the hunger-artist was not only too old, but, still more, he was too fanatically devoted to starvation. Inside his cage of his own free will, the hunger artist may do as he pleases. The hunger-artist whose art has suffered marked decline over last a few years. What sort of art we are bothering ourselves about. The art of starving yourself pa He, who had been cheered by thousands, could not now show himself in booths in little travelling fairs, and as far as taking another profession was concerned, the hunger-artist was not only too old, but, still more, he was too fanatically devoted to starvation. Inside his cage of his own free will, the hunger artist may do as he pleases. The hunger-artist whose art has suffered marked decline over last a few years. What sort of art we are bothering ourselves about. The art of starving yourself passionately without any sort of discomfort or dissatisfaction over it and we have people who are endowed with skills and strongest of the desires to perform such an art. Our hunger-artist here is an unusual man, for starving is the easiest thing for him in the world, it comes as naturally to him as any reflex action. And he makes no bones about saying so either but people don’t believe him, for it comes across something un-natural to them. The hunger-artist has been doing it for time-immemorial with such finesse and ease that his whole existence lingers upon on it, for he has dug his inner self with such a burning desire to carve out his artistic demons who could only be satisfied when he fully dedicates himself to the art even if that means his life. As a true artist should live a life built upon his devotion to his art and asceticism characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures to realize his spiritual being, our hunger-artist starves himself as he has once dreamed of doing, and he succeeds quite effortlessly as he has once predicted; but no one counts days, no one know how great his achievement is, not even the hunger-artist himself, and his heart grows heavy when the realization comes upon him. The hunger artist reaches epitome of his creative heights but evidently unsatisfied with his work and frustrated by both his manager and his audiences, who never fully appreciate his true talent or the purity of his aesthetic art. The art has become not simply a sacrificial death (which reminds me of Japanese practice of Seppuku) of the artist, but also an act of self-destruction and physical torture which leads to death. For the hunger artist, his desire for artistic perfection is stronger than physical needs. In his sense of frustration with himself and his feelings of isolation from the world outside the "cage" (which is in termed as his cage of his free will but is it really free will) in which he fasts, the hunger artist struggles internally so much so that his soul torments vehemently to produce tears of existential malaise. The man pays extraordinary and unparalleled attention to his occupation, considering himself to be a craftsman, whose heart beats for purity of his art, instead of an insignificant bazaar crack. Humiliation and embarrassment of paramount multitude surrounds him at any recommendation that his art probably won't be valid, that when nobody watches, he may take sustenance for his bodily needs, for what is more significant than the righteousness of his art. As a major aspect of the demonstration, consistently a few people are standing watchman at his enclosure to ensure he's not deceiving world, which irritates and infuriates him so much so that he despises such world which exists outside his ‘cage’. There's nothing more essential to a artist than the integrity of his very art. The hunger-artist is living in a time when interest in fasting as a source of amusement is beginning to dwindle. The essence of his life-his vocation- is reduced to nothingness by the cruel, unsympathetic world, the very purpose, his has devised for his inherently meaningless life, has been snatched away from him. Eventually, the hunger artist is reduced to a non-being who ultimately strikes the omnipotent bars of death which perhaps is not strong enough to move savage and antagonistic eyes of the world. The most notable characteristic is not the fact of doom but the un-wearying zigzagging of consciousness, the manner that streams and counter-streams of logic are pushed this way and that. The words used by Kafka are little, unduly and fussy which essentially means that Kafka offers very little to the translator, there is no voice, no diction, no style- like in literary sense, which makes translation of his works a quite challenging job so as not to produce verbiage of words in English which might have totally opposite effect to the dry impact Kafka intended, for he chose a very subtle and ironically conservative style. You will find that each word is written with a careful and measured precision wherein you can’t miss even a single word since the effect of whole narrative would have changed. It’s like gospel of human existence which should be read as a careful meditation of human condition. A Hunger Artist" is a familiar space from Kafka’s universe in which well-known themes of death, art, isolation, asceticism, spiritual poverty, futility, personal failure and the corruption of human relationships are being exploited to their full might. The story may be said to be an allegory, which interestingly may be representing quite different things. The hunger artist's asceticism may transforms him to Christ-like figure who suffers for his vocation but world does not understand him. Our hunger-artist may be a misunderstood artist, whose vision of transcendence and artistic excellence is rejected or ignored by the public. These interpretation allures the autobiographical traits of the story. Regardless of whether the hero's destitute is viewed as otherworldly or imaginative, the panther is viewed as the hunger-artist’s antithesis: fulfilled and placated, the creature's corporeality, who seems to bring its own freedom with it unlike the hunger-artist, remains in stamped complexity to the yearning hunger-artist's ethereality. A last interpretive division encompasses the issue of whether "A Hunger Artist" is intended to be perused ironically as most of the works of Kafka are. Kafka, however "A Hunger Artist", demonstrates that the world's lack of interest to the dominance of style might be malignant for the powerless artist's spirit. Art itself is certainly not a damaging force. Be that as it may, when an artist battles for acknowledgment and is prepared to be excitement for inquisitive onlookers, this sort of altruism is useless, regardless of whether it is veiled as a love to art. ’Because I couldn’t find any food I liked. If I had found any, believe me, I wouldn’t have made any fuss, and I would have eaten to my heart’s content, just like you or anyone else.’

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    These four stories capture how easily art can drive the artist to death. Kafka is so good at what he does, but these have a slightly different flavour too them. They’re not what you would term as directly Kafkaesque; they have nightmarish qualities and oppressive undertones to them, but the characters are not aware of their sufferings. They don’t feel trapped like K. did in The Trial. They don’t know that they are being consumed by their own pursuit for brilliance within their respective discipl These four stories capture how easily art can drive the artist to death. Kafka is so good at what he does, but these have a slightly different flavour too them. They’re not what you would term as directly Kafkaesque; they have nightmarish qualities and oppressive undertones to them, but the characters are not aware of their sufferings. They don’t feel trapped like K. did in The Trial. They don’t know that they are being consumed by their own pursuit for brilliance within their respective disciplines. They feel normal. But it is very clear to the reader that they are not normal. The direction they are taking will one day destroy them in one way or another. They are caged by their art because one day it will kill them because they cannot stop perfecting it. The title story, A Hunger Artist, is the one that develops these themes most strongly. There are suggestions in the others, though that may be because I read A Hunger Artist first and had its weird brilliance lingering on my mind. So I’m going to focus on it in particular. I’ve never even heard of the concept of a hunger artist before and I found myself researching them to see if they were a real thing. They sound like a Kafka creation, but in a way the story seemed so real I had my doubts. And as it turns out they are real. Hunger artist were performers (most likely part of a circus) that were quite popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Their act, their art, was to starve themselves. They would sit in a cage and not eat for days and weeks why people would come and watch them to see how long they could last. Such a practice sounds extremely dangerous, and I do wonder at the psychology of such a thing. These men would have pushed themselves into anorexia and near to death. - A Hunger Artist, locked in his cage. The audience would mark the days for the artist and watch him to ensure that he didn’t sneakily eat any food and that he was genuine throughout. The prospect of doing so, for Kafka’s artist, is revolting. He could never imagine betraying his calling and sinking so low as to be a fake artist. The very thought offends him as he is proud of the forty days he can go without food. He’s done it many times and after each time (where he is force fed when he is let out of his cage because he always refuses it) he finds himself wishing he could take it further and last longer, and perhaps never eat food again. So, he does, I think you can probably guess the ending. Kafka delivered in masterfully all the same. In a way, I think Kafka has used the story as an allegory for writing (and perhaps other forms of art.) There are so many creative types out their who push themselves so far to make something extraordinary. But they are unrecognised and unappreciated as Kafka was in his lifetime. Their art is wasted so they work themselves to death to better it (or perhaps, and more likely, as they are consumed my it.) Excellent writing – I really need to read more Kafka!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    It would appear Kafka saved some of his best writing for the time just prior to his death in 1924, and "The Hunger Artist" has a feel of bitter irony and maturity but still retains the same ground as previous works, that being alienation and withdrawal. The exhibit point being a man in a cage fasting for 40 days, and from the first few sentences Kafka induces a consciousness of time by tempting the reader to inquire only of the situation of the hunger artist himself rather than worry about place It would appear Kafka saved some of his best writing for the time just prior to his death in 1924, and "The Hunger Artist" has a feel of bitter irony and maturity but still retains the same ground as previous works, that being alienation and withdrawal. The exhibit point being a man in a cage fasting for 40 days, and from the first few sentences Kafka induces a consciousness of time by tempting the reader to inquire only of the situation of the hunger artist himself rather than worry about place and time. Of course with Kafka there is always the initiation of something extremely unusual, and that's no different here, resulting in pseudo-scientific and abstract content, with a factual style narrative that blurs the lines between the paradoxical situation we are exposed to. Strangely as it may seem, as we are dealing with a man inside a cage, it's a spiritual freedom that reverberates for the individual, and this will push him further forward in his daring escapades, with only one possible outcome. The artist is also melancholic not because he does not eat, but because he is continuously tempted to abandon his fasting and to accept the very food he tries to evade, but oddly he still manages to sing to onlookers!, thus creating a tone that plays havoc with your thought process, and that's what I admire most, is the fact that everything evaluates on such a deep level, it feels like he is a psychologist digesting our conscious minds. You can take Kafka's most famous work, as good as it may be, but he never actually got to reach a peak. I get the impression that had he another 10 years of writing after this he could have reached a stratosphere of greatness far beyond any other writer of his time. Fucking tuberculosis!.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Huda Yahya

    I am too overwhelmed to write , for i AM the hunger artist ! It's like watching yourself , your life , your decisions ,and above all your DEATH ! This is how i visioned my death ! I just didn't have any idea that another person knew how exactly it's going to be ! Kafka creeps the hell outta me . Seriously ! I am too overwhelmed to write , for i AM the hunger artist ! It's like watching yourself , your life , your decisions ,and above all your DEATH ! This is how i visioned my death ! I just didn't have any idea that another person knew how exactly it's going to be ! Kafka creeps the hell outta me . Seriously !

  7. 5 out of 5

    Apoorva

    ‘A Hunger Artist’ is about an artist who starves himself as an art. Back in the days, the hunger artist used to be displayed in a cage and a lot of people paid money to admire his art. But, the times have changed and people just don’t care about him anymore. The story is highly metaphorical and different interpretations can be drawn from it. And when once in a while a person strolling past stood there making fun of the old number and talking of a swindle, that was in a sense the stupidest lie ‘A Hunger Artist’ is about an artist who starves himself as an art. Back in the days, the hunger artist used to be displayed in a cage and a lot of people paid money to admire his art. But, the times have changed and people just don’t care about him anymore. The story is highly metaphorical and different interpretations can be drawn from it. And when once in a while a person strolling past stood there making fun of the old number and talking of a swindle, that was in a sense the stupidest lie which indifference and innate maliciousness could invent, for the hunger artist was not being deceptive—he was working honestly—but the world was cheating him of his reward. ‘The hunger artist’ can be an allegory of an artist. When the artist is at the peak of his career, he’s given immense attention and appreciation still, there are people who misunderstand his art and doubt his talents. As time passes, people’s attention and interest gets diverted towards something novel or maybe better and no one cares about the washed-up artist anymore. The obsession of an artist with realizing his full potential and his suffering due to not getting the recognition he deserves might lead him to isolate himself from the world. This can cause the artist to lose himself in his art and take it too far to the point of no return. Eventually, the artist just fades into obscurity. Kafka, an artist, might be writing about his own experience; he lived an isolated life plagued with problems and never received recognition in his lifetime. It could also refer to people who don’t fit in with the norms of the society and hence, stand out even more. People who lead different lives due to what they do or who they are might feel isolated from the society and feel like they’re trapped in a cage to be gawked at by everyone but understood and accepted by no one. “Just look at you,” said the supervisor, “why can’t you do anything else?” “Because,” said the hunger artist, lifting his head a little and, with his lips pursed as if for a kiss, speaking right into the supervisor’s ear so that he wouldn’t miss anything, “because I couldn’t find a food which I enjoyed. If had found that, believe me, I would not have made a spectacle of myself and would have eaten to my heart’s content, like you and everyone else.” The story of the artist could also represent the people who are forced to make different choices in their life due to the circumstances and they end up doing something they never wanted to do in the first place. Even though they tried to make the most of it, there’s this underlying regret and wishful thinking that things could’ve turned out differently. This is a deep and thought-provoking story and I highly recommend it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cecily

    This is a collection of four short stories, at least three of which concern performance art. These four are also included in some version of The Metamorphosis. The First Sorrow This tells of a trapeze artist so dedicated to his art, that he lives for and on his trapeze. Travel is torturous because he has to come down (though for longer journeys, he goes by train and lies in the overhead luggage rack!). Voyeurism often features tangentially in Kafka's works (and sometimes explicitly), but that is no This is a collection of four short stories, at least three of which concern performance art. These four are also included in some version of The Metamorphosis. The First Sorrow This tells of a trapeze artist so dedicated to his art, that he lives for and on his trapeze. Travel is torturous because he has to come down (though for longer journeys, he goes by train and lies in the overhead luggage rack!). Voyeurism often features tangentially in Kafka's works (and sometimes explicitly), but that is not the trapeze artist's motivation. He is a pure artist, and prepared to sacrifice everything for that, regardless of any fame or approval. A Little Woman This seems to be the odd one out, as it doesn't feature a performance or any sort of artist. Instead, it is an apparently paranoid narration of a man who is despised and thus tormented by a woman who "is a complete stranger to me". She is "repulsed" and "highly dissatisfied with me" to the extent that she cannot sleep and thus cannot work. He does not know (or admit?) the cause, but feels guilt, as well as shame arising from the assumption that others condemn him. He claims "the relationship between us is entirely of her making and only exists from her point of view", but his reaction implies otherwise. He asks a friend for advice and awaits her judgement. The Hunger/Fasting Artist This is presumably where David Blaine got his inspiration, but Kafka, of course, is far more profound and disturbing. Is he just a dedicated performer, or does self-starvation serve some higher purpose, or reflect Kafka's own concerns and problems with health and eating? Much of the inner turmoil sounds like someone with an eating disorder: "I have to fast, I can't help it" and "I could never find the nourishment I liked". His greatest frustration is people assuming he cheats somehow. He is the only person who is 100% certain of the truth, and yet he is dissatisfied with himself because fasting is "the easiest thing in the world". He's never allowed to fast for more than 40 days because the public lose interest, but you should be careful what you wish for. Fasting as a spectacle goes out of fashion; he is no longer the big draw he once was, and he ends up in a circus, alongside the more interesting animal. You can read the full text here (8 pages): http://www.kafka-online.info/a-hunger... For a different take on similar themes, see Han Kang's The Vegetarian (see my review HERE). Josefine the Songstress or The Mouse People One of Kafka's animal stories, though apart from the subtitle, you'd barely know it. It's also (probably) my least favourite, though I can't quite say why. An unnamed narrator talks about Josfine: "the beauty of her song is such that even the dullest ear cannot resist it" and goes on to ponder whether it is really art, or merely an extension of the natural tendency to "pipe" (I presume "squeak" would be a better translation). She has diva-ish tendencies and is revered by her people, such that "Josefine stands almost beyond the law". She says work impairs her voice, so invents work-related injuries, "So now we get a theatrical performance in addition to the concert". Should society support great artists? You can read the full text here (20 pages): http://www.kafka-online.info/josephin... See my Kafka-related bookshelf for other works by and about Kafka (http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    For most part it could be read in different ways: 1. as an allegory on life of jesus. Jesus died trying to tell the people about righteous path. However, just like hunger artist he was never understood and soon ran out of fashion. To me personally, it appears weakest of interpretations. 2. About path of abstinence. Hunger artist was personification of abstinence and was replaced by ever hungry beast showing a change in values of society. He chooses abstinence because he could not be at peace with For most part it could be read in different ways: 1. as an allegory on life of jesus. Jesus died trying to tell the people about righteous path. However, just like hunger artist he was never understood and soon ran out of fashion. To me personally, it appears weakest of interpretations. 2. About path of abstinence. Hunger artist was personification of abstinence and was replaced by ever hungry beast showing a change in values of society. He chooses abstinence because he could not be at peace with joys society has to offer as his last words show. 3. Obsession. Hunger artist had a blind, and as was proved fatal, obsession for hunger. Like anybody living through obsession, he couldn't understand other people's indifference towards what he considered so important, carried his obsession to extremes with no sense of measure or proportion; continued out of habit to the point of his death. His last words may be a seen as a desperate effort at self justification (those weren't the reasons mentioned in the beginning.) 4. A critical artist. The hunger artist may stand for an artist (read Kafka) or even a social activist (read Gandhi with his satyagrahas and Mother Teresa with her self imposed poverty) who feels compelled to make, or rather turn himself into a statement against things he or she can't turn his gaze away from - the way rest of us do. Although instead of being understood, he or she becomes a source of curiosity and entertainment, and ends up being replaced by another entertainment of very opposite sort as society's tastes changes. Hunger artist's last words may mean to show he has been so because he couldn't living with existing vices of society. Like all Kafka's works, it is absurd and is liable to multiple interpretations, but we need not worry ourselves with what author was thinking when he wrote it. Great works often end up saying and doing then they are trying to.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Ein Hungerkünstler = A Hunger Artist = A Fasting Artist = A Starvation Artist, Franz Kafka "A Hunger Artist" (German: "Ein Hungerkünstler") is a short story by Franz Kafka first published in Die neue Rundschau in 1922. The story was also included in the collection A Hunger Artist (Ein Hungerkünstler), the last book Kafka prepared for publication, printed by Verlag Die Schmiede after Kafka's death. The protagonist, a hunger artist who experiences the decline in appreciation of his craft, is an ar Ein Hungerkünstler = A Hunger Artist = A Fasting Artist = A Starvation Artist, Franz Kafka "A Hunger Artist" (German: "Ein Hungerkünstler") is a short story by Franz Kafka first published in Die neue Rundschau in 1922. The story was also included in the collection A Hunger Artist (Ein Hungerkünstler), the last book Kafka prepared for publication, printed by Verlag Die Schmiede after Kafka's death. The protagonist, a hunger artist who experiences the decline in appreciation of his craft, is an archetypical creation of Kafka: an individual marginalized and victimized by society at large. The title of the story has been translated also to "A Fasting Artist" and "A Starvation Artist". تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دهم ماه آوریل سال 1974 میلادی نوان: مسخ و گراکوس شکارچی؛ نوشته: فرانتس کافکا؛ مترجم: صادق هدایت؛ کتاب در قطع جیبی و شامل داستانهای: مسخ؛ گراکوس شکارچی؛ شمشیر؛ در کنیسه ما نخستین بار ترجمه فارسی این اثر از متن فرانسه به قلم روانشاد صادق هدایت منتشر شد. سپس ترجمه بانو فرزانه طاهری در سال 1358 هجری خورشیدی توسط انتشارات نیلوفر که از متن انگلیسی ترجمه شده بود انتشار یافت. ترجمه دیگری نیز از جناب علی اصغر حداد را که از متن اصلی و زبان آلمانی ترجمه شده نشر ماهی منتشر کرده است عنوان: هنرمند گرسنگی؛ نویسنده: فرانتس کافکا؛ مترجم: کامل روزدار؛ تهران، چاپخش، 1391؛ در 76 ص؛ عنوان دیگر: گراکوس شکارچی نشر 1390؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آلمانی - سده 20 م در داستان هنرمند گرسنگی (گراکوس شکارچی) قهرمان داستان کسی ست که دائم در حال روزه داری ست. نه چیزی میخورد نه چیزی مینوشد و در ابتدا گمان میکنیم که این کار را برای این انجام میدهد تا مردمانی که به دیدنش میآیند او را تشویق کنند و هر چند روزی که به این مدت روزه گرفتن اضافه میشود مردم بیشتر تحسینش میکنند. اما در انتها میبینیم که ایدئولوژی فرد روزه گیر اصلا این نبوده که تعریف و تمجید بشنود. شاید هم در ابتدا اینطور بوده ولی در انتها نظرش کلا برمیگردد. اگر میتوانید هنر گرسنگی کشیدن را به کسی توضیح بدهید، فهماندن چنین چیزی به کسی که آن را حس نکرده امکان ندارد. ا. شربیانی

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “he was working honestly- - but the world was cheating him of his reward” The hunger artist’s life’s ‘work’ as a public spectator in a cage - starved from food - is one hell of a career choice. What did he feel the world owed him? Perhaps asked another way - “what did he feel he owed himself?”. The older the Hunger Artist became - rather than experiencing inner peace - his heart grew heavy. Fasting itself was easy for him. Forty days at a time were not so much a personal challenge — it was simply “he was working honestly- - but the world was cheating him of his reward” The hunger artist’s life’s ‘work’ as a public spectator in a cage - starved from food - is one hell of a career choice. What did he feel the world owed him? Perhaps asked another way - “what did he feel he owed himself?”. The older the Hunger Artist became - rather than experiencing inner peace - his heart grew heavy. Fasting itself was easy for him. Forty days at a time were not so much a personal challenge — it was simply the number of days of a fasting cycle until the public got bored with paying attention. One of the things I thought about — besides...the sadness of this man’s life —perhaps wanting control - but control is limiting- an illusion- and ultimately disappointing— I thought about the deep sadness of the GREAT ARTISTS... The GREAT HONEST WORKERS in our world — doing what they do that comes natural and easy to ‘them’... yet they are never satisfied with their self worth. Many of the greatest people feel invisible- lonely - like they’ve failed at their own dreams.... And they are sorry. The Hunger Artist tried to do honest work....and make a difference. What the artist doesn’t know.... Is that he is still making a difference after his death. Being human hurts - and if this short story doesn’t point to that - I don’t know what does!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Prashant

    When I was born, I started to learn the tricks of the world. I did everything I was asked to do. I did years of schooling. I was asked to take a paying degree of engineering, I did it. I was told that management is "THE" thing for the future and that's where the big bucks are. I did that too. But somewhere down the line I lost track of myself. What will happen if someday everything I did looses its relevance? What will I do? Will I panic. Yes, sure. But what will the future hold for me then? How wil When I was born, I started to learn the tricks of the world. I did everything I was asked to do. I did years of schooling. I was asked to take a paying degree of engineering, I did it. I was told that management is "THE" thing for the future and that's where the big bucks are. I did that too. But somewhere down the line I lost track of myself. What will happen if someday everything I did looses its relevance? What will I do? Will I panic. Yes, sure. But what will the future hold for me then? How will I fulfill the desire of acceptance then? Will I be ever able to live my life normally? If yes then HOW? Will the world end? Who will notice when I die? Is my usefulness to others is the means to an end or an end in itself? This sad tale by Kafka narrates the dilemma of a man whose only trait has become irrelevant to the world. It's a lot to ponder !!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Re-read 3.6.18: Kafka has been, to me, a deeply spiritual writer, speaking deep truths in spiritual and allegorical words, which speak to the heart and spirit. This gorgeous, sad story speaks to me, but I find it hard to convey with my mind. This spoke deepest to me: "I always wanted you to admire my fasting,' said the hunger artist. 'And so we do admire it,' said the overseer accomodatingly. 'But you shouldn't admire it,' said the hunger artist. 'So then we don't admire it,' said the overseer,'bu Re-read 3.6.18: Kafka has been, to me, a deeply spiritual writer, speaking deep truths in spiritual and allegorical words, which speak to the heart and spirit. This gorgeous, sad story speaks to me, but I find it hard to convey with my mind. This spoke deepest to me: "I always wanted you to admire my fasting,' said the hunger artist. 'And so we do admire it,' said the overseer accomodatingly. 'But you shouldn't admire it,' said the hunger artist. 'So then we don't admire it,' said the overseer,'but why should we not admire it?' 'Because I must fast, I cannot do otherwise,' answered the hunger artist. 'What a character you are,' said the overseer, 'and why can't you do otherwise?' 'Because,' said the hunger artist, lifting his head a little and puckering his lips as if for a kiss, and he spoke directly into the overseers ear so that nothing would be missed, 'Because I could never find food I liked. Had I found it, believe me, I would never have created such a ruckus and would have stuffed myself like you and everyone else.' These were his last words, but in his glazing eyes there remained the firm if no longer proud conviction that he was still fasting." These were Kafka's last words to us, in a sense, having died soon after the arrangement. I think Kafka was the hunger artist. He lived an emaciated existence, consumed in his writing, loving it, knowing he had an extraordinary gift, but knowing the reality that he didn't write popular fiction. His writing revealed his emaciated, nutrition-neglected existence, in his loneliness, his internal conflicts, his concern for the true matters of life. He didn't live to merely entertain people, and use the money to be entertained. He went deep, and wanted to take people deep, and died believing he had failed. Perhaps his hope was that some day people might hear, and see him after death as in life, feeding off the food of what truly matters. ----------------- Original, 3.2.16 The life of a nutrition deprived man in a cage, a prisoner by will. One of those stories you keep thinking about and sink into days after.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Supreeth

    You always end up doing shit you never wanted to do.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Greta

    The most ironic death possible when people were without food after the first world war. Kafka tells about the hunger artist, starving in his cage, for his audience to watch, ultimately killing him. He is guarded by butchers, making sure he doesn’t secretly eat, even though they are convinced that he finds ways to cheat when they are not watching. This suspicion bothered the hunger artist, as did the forty-day limit imposed on his fasting by his promoter. After that period the public sympathy for The most ironic death possible when people were without food after the first world war. Kafka tells about the hunger artist, starving in his cage, for his audience to watch, ultimately killing him. He is guarded by butchers, making sure he doesn’t secretly eat, even though they are convinced that he finds ways to cheat when they are not watching. This suspicion bothered the hunger artist, as did the forty-day limit imposed on his fasting by his promoter. After that period the public sympathy for the hunger artist inevitably declined, which prevented the artist from bettering his own record, fasting indefinitely because he was forced to eat. Despite his fame, the hunger artist felt dissatisfied, misunderstood and became depressed. His melancholy was recognized and it was suggested to the audience that the hunger artist's sadness and poor physique was caused by fasting, when, in the hunger artist's view, he was depressed because of the premature cessation of his fasts. Over night public fasting went out of style. The hunger artist broke his ties with the impresario and hired himself to a circus, where he hoped to perform truly prodigious feats of fasting. But in his new position he found himself drawn from attention and ignored. No one, not even the artist himself, counted the days of his fast. One day they found the hunger artist near death. Before he died he asked forgiveness and confessed that he should not be admired, since the reason he fasted was simply that he could not find food to his liking. The hunger artist was buried and replaced by a panther, that was admired by the audience and always got food of his liking. What this story is about from my point of few: I. Seperation The artist exists apart from society and must therefore be misunderstood. This physical separation of willingly being locked in a cage mirrors the spiritual separation of the individual artistic ego and public will. This gap in mindset leads to a critical gap in understanding. only the hunger artist realizes the importance of his ambitions and accomplishments, and only he knows that he is not cheating. The further the hunger artist goes in pursuit of perfection, the further away he moves from the understanding of the people for whom he performs. The artist will always be separated from society because the qualities that distinguish him as an artist and are worth preserving are the ones that ensure he will never be understood. II. Harmful pride His fierce pride enables him to continue his fasting beyond his physical limits, but it ultimately stops him from reaching his goals because it hurts his public appeal and connection to others. He looks on his starved body with vanity, deeming with honor, but his starved, pitiful and grotesque body - which is the manifestation of his pride- grotesques others and ensures he will never be loved and admired by the public. Pride turns the hunger artist away from others and into himself, reinforcing his isolation by imprisoning himself in a cage. In the end, pride guarantees the hunger artist not fame and transcendence, but obscurity. III. Utter Pointlessness The hunger artist fasts hoping that it will lead to spiritual satisfaction, but leaves him physically and emotionally empty. His denial of food reveals the nourishment he actually seeks; public recognition and artistic perfection. Hunger, for both physical and spiritual nourishment, is the subject of his performance. Fasting lies within the artist control, while spiritual nourishment stays out of his reach. However succeeds in fasting indefinitely, and this failure results in constant dissatisfaction. He fails to understand that what he searches for relies on the physical life he believes that he must give up. The panther that replaces him, even though trapped in a cage, seems to need nothing because, in essence, it lacks nothing. The hunger artist dies empty, having given up everything and still attaining none of his goals. This story reflects a lot on Kafkas vision of himself as an artist. This book was the last book Kafka prepared for publication before his death, his last act of sacrifice. But the text that were published after his death he never intended to be seen.His wish was for all his scripts to be burned after he died. Instead they were published and are appreciated as world literature. He always struggled with isolating himself and disconnecting from society while still searching for outside appreciation. I can understand that thought process. I tend to isolate myself. I tend to loose the connection to the world surrounding me, getting lost in the cage I build for myself, not being able to stop by myself anymore. As always Kafka gets me. As always I get lost in his rather plain choice of words, provoking deep emotional reactions.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Scarlet Cameo

    "Un hombre condenado a mirar al mundo con una claridad tan enceguecedora que éste le resultó insoportable y se encaminó hacia la muerte" Esta es la descripción que hace Kafka del ayunador, un hombre que conforme se describe su mundo y su necesidad de sentir hambre transmite un velo de angustia y desolación que sólo él, y sus semejantes, podían entender. El arquetipo del hombre solo cuando está rodeado de gente, siempre inconforme con el mundo y completamente incomprendido pero, que al mismo t "Un hombre condenado a mirar al mundo con una claridad tan enceguecedora que éste le resultó insoportable y se encaminó hacia la muerte" Esta es la descripción que hace Kafka del ayunador, un hombre que conforme se describe su mundo y su necesidad de sentir hambre transmite un velo de angustia y desolación que sólo él, y sus semejantes, podían entender. El arquetipo del hombre solo cuando está rodeado de gente, siempre inconforme con el mundo y completamente incomprendido pero, que al mismo tiempo, entiende al mundo mejor que todos los habitantes que lo conforman. Un cuento que abarca la inconformidad, la necesidad de sobresalir y hacerse invisible en un mismo momento, y la belleza/sufrimiento de morir por el amor al arte son sólo algunos de los aspectos que son demostrados en esta magnifica obra que no sólo analiza al artista en su desesperación y conformismo sinotambién al espectador en su fascinación y desprecio. "Tal vez su esqueletica delgadez procedía de su descontento consigo mismo"

  17. 4 out of 5

    Guillermo Gonca

    En tiempos pasados el ayuno fue visto como un gesto noble. Los antiguos ascetas (especialmente los de oriente) acostumbraban el ayuno como una ofrenda o sacrificio ante la divinidad; no era raro ver a místicos y frailes (flacos hasta los huesos) que evitaban casi por completo el "alimento material" para conformarse con el "alimento espiritual". Con el tiempo, apareció otra manera noble de evitar las bondades de la nutrición; un activista o luchador social podía declararse en "huelga de hambre" y En tiempos pasados el ayuno fue visto como un gesto noble. Los antiguos ascetas (especialmente los de oriente) acostumbraban el ayuno como una ofrenda o sacrificio ante la divinidad; no era raro ver a místicos y frailes (flacos hasta los huesos) que evitaban casi por completo el "alimento material" para conformarse con el "alimento espiritual". Con el tiempo, apareció otra manera noble de evitar las bondades de la nutrición; un activista o luchador social podía declararse en "huelga de hambre" y dejar de comer como protesta ante la injusticia o el abuso del poder, poniendo su vida en manos del tirano. Sin embargo, la honorabilidad de estos motivos, podría esconder un impulso autodestructivo; una patología que llevaría a estas personas a ofrecerse como el cordero puesto para el sacrificio. A este impulso de dejar de comer, se le reconoce hoy en día como anorexia, una enfermedad psiquiátrica "Un artista del hambre" relato escrito por Franz Kafka en 1922 trata sobre ese impulso destructivo ya despojado de su dignidad mística o justiciera, pero revestido de una cualidad circense. El artista del hambre es una persona que ostenta poder sobrevivir sin probar bocado durante cuarenta días. Esta habilidad es tomada por el personaje como una profesión de la que se enorgullece, por la que se contrata y recibe una remuneración, misma que le obliga a ser enjaulado, exhibido y vigilado día y noche, cual si fuera un animal salvaje. La psicología profunda del personaje es muy interesante, pues a sabiendas de sentirse completamente incomprendido, arremete con furia contra quienes intentan empatizar con él. En repetidas ocasiones nuestro protagonista expresa plena convicción por su modo de ganarse la vida y por el dominio de su "arte", pero termina aceptando que su ayuno no es más que una inclinación incontrolable, una adicción que va más allá de sus fuerzas. El lector encontrará el desenlace de la historia tan desconcertante como la personalidad del individuo. De ahí que demos paso a muchas interpretaciones. Una de las posibles maneras de entender el relato sería tomarlo como una alegoría del celibato. Ciertas personas, por voluntad propia o por hacer votos de castidad, se someten a la abstinencia sexual, y podrían (como "el artista del hambre") ostentar su castidad como un logro extraordinario, como una cualidad que les hace superior a sus semejantes. Sin embargo (como "el artista del hambre") sería imposible corroborar la veracidad de sus clamores, pues para ello sería necesario mantenerlos permanentemente vigilados y sólo así comprobar si cumplen con la privación de la que tanto se jactan. Otra interpretación podría ser la pobreza. Muchos seres humanos rechazan el dinero por considerarlo como algo "sucio". Por tanto, ostentan sus carencias materiales como si éstas les revistieran de dignidad. Finalmente, viene la interpretación última del "sentimiento de amor", pues la naturaleza de una buena parte de nuestros semejantes es rechazar el amor por considerarnos indignos de él. Todas estas aristas pueden ser relacionadas con nuestro "artista del hambre". Además de la soledad, hay otras características que podemos encontrar en los personajes. Habrá que mencionar el exhibicionismo de quién patético se muestra y el morbo de quienes pasivos, incrédulos o indiferentes observan. (Para que alguien se destruya hace falta que otro lo presencie y sufra con él, de otra manera, el golpe suicida carecería de sentido). Este elemento exhibicionista empeora la situación del "artista del hambre", quien ya soporta el peso de sentirse diferente y de confundir sus habilidades "artísticas" con el odio por sí mismo. Siempre que se lee a Kafka el lector termina dando paso a la reflexiones, la introspección y las conjeturas. Con este relato me fue inevitable pensar en aquellas modelos de pasarela de cuerpo esquelético y en aquellos fisicoculturistas musculosos y anabolizados que se muestran orgullosos en los certámenes. ¿No son ellos también artistas del hambre?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chaymâa

    I always try to view a piece of art as abstract and intricate as the soul of its creator. Judging it by its surface would be like judging a person by their appearance, an opinion biased to its very core. Worshiping it according to its fame or its signature is discrimination against Art in its purest sense. I honestly have no idea where my thoughts will lead me. I know though that feelings are submerging me right now and I feel shrouded by the sight of this hunger artist. He was a master in the a I always try to view a piece of art as abstract and intricate as the soul of its creator. Judging it by its surface would be like judging a person by their appearance, an opinion biased to its very core. Worshiping it according to its fame or its signature is discrimination against Art in its purest sense. I honestly have no idea where my thoughts will lead me. I know though that feelings are submerging me right now and I feel shrouded by the sight of this hunger artist. He was a master in the art of fasting. The suffering of a desperate soul was what he could symbolize the best. He was both the artist and the masterpiece and he devoted himself to what seemed to him the heart of his existence, fasting in a cage in front of an apathetic society. All he was longing for was some recognition, a fickle attention or just one brief glance of a stranger passing by him. A sign acknowledging his existence and his work of art, for god’s sake! I respect you, dear hunger artist. I would even go further and say I adore you. I might not be an artist, but I am a hunger person whose mind is abstained from anything fake. Fain would I await the time when authenticity shall prevail and fain would Art die, if hunger artists get satiated by money and publicity. A hunger artist is a very layered work which makes it hard –even impossible- to read without omitting a sign or a meaning. As the last book published during the lifetime of Kafka, I wonder if he doesn't project himself on some aspect of this hunger artist. It is said that Kafka may have suffered from Schizoid personality disorder which is characterized by a lack of interest in relationships and a tendency towards an isolated lifestyle. It is hard to draw any conclusions about this but to me Kafka would always remain this mysterious genius and, A hunger artist utterly testifies to his greatness. "Try to explain the art of fasting to anyone! If someone doesn’t feel it, then he cannot be made to understand it."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elie F

    When the external critics lost interest and the artist lost his external measure of success, he is left with his internal critic, himself, who unfortunately knew very well how mediocre his performance actually is. Is the pathetic condition of the hunger artist also a reflection of Kafka's own condition?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ian D

    O Franz Kafka και η υψηλή τέχνη να γράφεις αριστουργήματα μέσα σε λίγες μόνο σελίδες. Για κάποιους συγγραφείς αποτελεί όνειρο ζωής. Για τον Kafka υποψιάζομαι πως ήταν απλώς Τετάρτη.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vipassana

    This is a tiny story and I'd recommend that everyone read it. Think about your hunger. Do you starve yourself for lack of nutrition or do you poison yourself with what you are given? Do you choke your children with your own inadequacy and suffocate those try to live consciously? In the moments when one is faced with something intense, it is easy to get overwhelmed. But take twenty minutes, read this story and answer your questions.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Meike

    English: A Hunger Artist Many of Kafka's texts are bleak, but this one is particularly haunting: The protagonist works for an impresario who markets him as a hunger artist travelling around and eating nothing for up to 40 days - not because it becomes too dangerous after that, but because experience shows that that's the time span audiences are captivated by the act. But as the times change, people get less interested in hunger artists, and the proatgonist goes on sitting in his cage and eating n English: A Hunger Artist Many of Kafka's texts are bleak, but this one is particularly haunting: The protagonist works for an impresario who markets him as a hunger artist travelling around and eating nothing for up to 40 days - not because it becomes too dangerous after that, but because experience shows that that's the time span audiences are captivated by the act. But as the times change, people get less interested in hunger artists, and the proatgonist goes on sitting in his cage and eating nothing next to the circus animals, where he is almost forgotten and finally dies, the cage then being occupied by a panther. One obvious theme here is the joy of the masses being entertained by novelty and an "art" that is destructive for the performer - but this performer enjoys his work, although it eventually kills him. Kafka saw loneliness and ascetism as necessary conditions for an artist to do his job properly. And then there's the disconnect between the audience, who turns their backs on the hunger artist, and the artist who goes on doing what he does, because it's a compulsion. Again, Kafka is known to have said that not being able to write was like torture to him. The ending is interesting as well: The hunger artist wanted to sit in the cage and perform, the panther is forced to sit in that unnatural environment - it's also an obvious nod to Rilke's poem The Panther ("To him, there seem to be a thousand bars / and back behind those thousand bars no world" - this sounds so much better in German). What a troubled individual this Franz Kafka must have been, and what a great writer he was.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mohajerino

    «کسی که احساسش نمیکند نمیتوان به فهمیدنش واداشت» شاهکار یه اگزیستانسیالیسم بدون نقص هنرمند گرسنگی در بهار 1922نگاشته شده است.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Duane

    A Hunger Artist is a Franz Kafka short story that was published in the early 1920's. A Fasting Artist would be a better title because that's what the protagonist is, that's what he does, and he does it publicly, seemingly for the entertainment of the "people". He is very good at it and takes pride in his ability to fast for up to 40 days. But as time goes on the people begin to lose interest in his fasting's until there is no one left, no one who is interested. The story is obviously an allegory A Hunger Artist is a Franz Kafka short story that was published in the early 1920's. A Fasting Artist would be a better title because that's what the protagonist is, that's what he does, and he does it publicly, seemingly for the entertainment of the "people". He is very good at it and takes pride in his ability to fast for up to 40 days. But as time goes on the people begin to lose interest in his fasting's until there is no one left, no one who is interested. The story is obviously an allegory but what does it mean, what does the fasting represent? I think it's meanings and interpretations are almost infinite. They could mean anything to anybody. To me it was a reflection of life, of my life, and how things change as you get holder, and how people begin to perceive you differently. It's a short read and certainly worth taking the time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jan Rice

    I have a Kafka deficit. I suddenly became aware of it. So when I saw a review of a very short short story of his I decided to read it--easily done since it's online. I didn't read anything else about it first that would explain it or tell me what it was supposed to mean. Sometime recently, though, I did read something about Kafka. I thought it was The New Yorker, but according to Google they haven't published any Kafka articles since January, and it wasn't that long ago. It was something about hi I have a Kafka deficit. I suddenly became aware of it. So when I saw a review of a very short short story of his I decided to read it--easily done since it's online. I didn't read anything else about it first that would explain it or tell me what it was supposed to mean. Sometime recently, though, I did read something about Kafka. I thought it was The New Yorker, but according to Google they haven't published any Kafka articles since January, and it wasn't that long ago. It was something about his alienation from his culture or country, about his situation. I haven't yet figured out where I was reading that. Nowadays the fasts of this nature one hears of are for political reasons, for example, the recently-ended fast by a leader of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. But the fasting in The Hunger Artist is not like that. I next thought of the unclearly attributed quotation about writing being easy; all you do is open a vein and bleed. That quote doesn't fit, either, since for the hunger artist the entertaining act of mortifying the flesh itself is the aim. The performance, not words, seems to be the point. The point is his passivity, and it's a trap. When people stop paying attention he is without recourse. He is without words--that's the awful truth. But, after all, Kafka is not without words as he has written this!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mohit Joshi

    As good as The Metamorphosis, if not more.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    [There are a few spoilers throughout this review] This is likely my most valued short story of all time. The symbolism in this story is somewhat hidden, but if you're looking for it, it's right there in front of you. I remember hearing others talk about the story, and oftentimes they focused too much on the character and not enough on his mission. Yes, he is used as a man who starves himself literally throughout the story, but readers must ask themselves, is it really food that the hunger artist [There are a few spoilers throughout this review] This is likely my most valued short story of all time. The symbolism in this story is somewhat hidden, but if you're looking for it, it's right there in front of you. I remember hearing others talk about the story, and oftentimes they focused too much on the character and not enough on his mission. Yes, he is used as a man who starves himself literally throughout the story, but readers must ask themselves, is it really food that the hunger artist is lacking? Is there something else? Read it several times. The more you read it, the more you notice the other important details. The hunger artist likes the attention. He feels the temporary love and adoration of onlookers who are in awe at his capabilities to sit in a cage for days on end, sans meals. He mistakes this odd affection for true love. However, once this novelty has worn off, and people no longer find his strange talent interesting or new, they move on. The mistake is that the hunger artist doesn't. He is used to not having food, and so he has no craving for it. No will to eat anything at all. Additionally, and more importantly, he has never received any real unconditional love, and so he grows used to this too. Physically without food, and mentally without love and attention, he withers away and dies. He is simply removed, and a panther is put in his place. Symbolism might suggest that the panther is the exact opposite of the hunger artist, willingly eating and self-consumed, not to be concerned with what others think of him. Before dying, the hunger artist says he should not have had admirers; that he just couldn't find any food he liked. In reality, he is most likely telling them that he never found anyone who would love him the way he wanted to be loved.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tsung

    Another enigmatic story from Kafka. But what if he had just written this? We would have a hunger artist with a livestream on social media. How many views? Likes? Shares? Sponsors? His livestream would have been shut down because of the disturbing nature of his act. Then again there is a lag time before inappropriate videos get removed. Inappropriate as it is, even the most popular videos would eventually fall out of fashion. Worse still is to be labelled as fake. So what makes him so desperate fo Another enigmatic story from Kafka. But what if he had just written this? We would have a hunger artist with a livestream on social media. How many views? Likes? Shares? Sponsors? His livestream would have been shut down because of the disturbing nature of his act. Then again there is a lag time before inappropriate videos get removed. Inappropriate as it is, even the most popular videos would eventually fall out of fashion. Worse still is to be labelled as fake. So what makes him so desperate for attention and acceptance that he is willing to go such extremes? This is the most tragic part of the story: “I always wanted you to admire my fasting,” said the hunger artist. “But we do admire it,” said the overseer, affably. “But you shouldn’t admire it,” said the hunger artist. “Well then, we don’t admire it,” said the overseer, “but why shouldn’t we admire it?” “Because I have to fast. I can’t help it,” said the hunger artist. “What a fellow you are,” said the overseer, “and why can’t you help it?” “Because,” said the hunger artist, lifting his head a little and speaking, with his lips pursed, as if for a kiss, right into the overseer’s ear so that not a syllable might be lost, “because I couldn’t find the food that I liked. If had found it, believe me, I should have made no fuss and stuffed myself, like you or anyone else.” (5stars for this but the other stories weren't very interesting.)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Yash Sinojia

    This short story was the last work of Kafka symbolically expresses the death. In “A Hunger Artist,” the hunger artist’s troubled relationship with his spectators suggests that the artist exists apart from society and must therefore be misunderstood. In the hunger artist’s case, being an artist means cutting oneself off from the world, a conclusion reflected in the hunger artist’s conscious choice to sequester himself in a cage. This physical separation of hunger artist and spectator mirrors the s This short story was the last work of Kafka symbolically expresses the death. In “A Hunger Artist,” the hunger artist’s troubled relationship with his spectators suggests that the artist exists apart from society and must therefore be misunderstood. In the hunger artist’s case, being an artist means cutting oneself off from the world, a conclusion reflected in the hunger artist’s conscious choice to sequester himself in a cage. This physical separation of hunger artist and spectator mirrors the spiritual separation of the individual artistic ego and public will. This gap in mindset leads to a critical gap in understanding. Set apart from others, only the hunger artist realizes the importance of his ambitions and accomplishments, and only he knows that he is not cheating. The further the hunger artist goes in pursuit of perfection, as he does in the circus, the further away he moves from the understanding of the people for whom he performs. The artist will always be separated from society because the qualities that distinguish him as an “artist” and are worth preserving are the ones that ensure he will never be understood.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Neal

    extensive religious analogies.

  31. 4 out of 5

    kianoosh

  32. 5 out of 5

    Mahdi

  33. 5 out of 5

    gilandokht

  34. 4 out of 5

    John

  35. 4 out of 5

    emily

  36. 5 out of 5

    shelby

  37. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  38. 4 out of 5

    claire

  39. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    First of all I would like to thank my professor for making me buy this "gem". This is a collection of short stories by fanz kafka. It is an expensive little book but just the most wonderful little thing. I have read one short story out of it. You have to enjoy Franz Kafka's writing in order to appreciate this book.

  40. 5 out of 5

    kleinenell

  41. 5 out of 5

    Goya Champuru

  42. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Walden

  43. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  44. 4 out of 5

    proto

  45. 5 out of 5

    Aditi

  46. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  47. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  48. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

  49. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Rigsby

  50. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

  51. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  52. 4 out of 5

    Lori

  53. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian

  54. 4 out of 5

    Bunster

  55. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  56. 5 out of 5

    Feathercat

  57. 5 out of 5

    Stevenj

  58. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Weisman

  59. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

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