Der Bau; The Burrow

Der Bau; The Burrow (written Nov-Dec 1923, published 1931)

This is one of Kafka’s most brilliant stories, about a creature in a burrow who is frightened by distant noises. The creature’s obsessive construction of the burrow can of course be read as a metaphor for Kafka’s own literary creation.

Further Reading

J. M. Coetzee, ‘Time, Tense and Aspect in Kafka’s “The Burrow”’, Modern Language Notes 96:3 (1981), 556-79

Richard Heinemann, ‘Kafka’s Oath of Service: “Der Bau” and the Dialectic of Bureaucratic Mind’, PMLA 111 (1996), 256-70

Clayton Koelb, ‘Kafka Imagines his Readers: the Rhetoric of ‘Josefine, die Sängerin’ and ‘Der Bau’, in A Companion to the Works of Franz Kafka, ed. by James Rolleston (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2002), pp. 347-59

Britta Maché, ‘The Noise in the Burrow: Kafka’s Final Dilemma’, German Quarterly 55 (1982) 526-40

Gerhard Richter, ‘Difficile Dwellings: Kafka’s “The Burrow”’, in The Poetics of Reading, ed. by Eitel Timm and Kenneth Mendoza (Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1993), pp. 1-18

Laura Stahman, ‘Franz Kafka’s “The Burrow” as Model of Ipseity in Levinasian Theory’, Mosaic 37:3 (2004), 19-32

Frank W. Stephenson, ‘Becoming Mole(cular), Becoming Noise: Serres and Deleuze in Kafka’s “Burrow”’, Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 30:1 (2004), 3-36