Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Writing on the wall: Benjamin, Kafka, Borges, and the chinese imaginary

Carlos Rojas


Using Kafka’s short story “The Great Wall of China” as a starting point, this essay examines the ways in which a dialectics of inclusion and exclusion, construction and destruction, have been deployed in discussions of identity and difference. In particular, I argue that even as Walter Benjamin uses Kafka as a starting point to reflect on how the West imagines China as a space of radical alterity, Kafka’s own Great Wall story is interested instead in how China conceives its relationship to its own strategic Other, which in turn offers a model for how we might understand the West itself.

Text complet: PDF (English)