Josefine, die Sängerin oder das Volk der Mäuse; Josefine the Singer, or The Mouse People (written and published 1924) Kafka’s final short story is a fascinating reflection on the relationship between artist and public. The artist in this case is the mouse singer Josefine, whose singing is not particularly good, but strangely touching nevertheless. The story considers whether or not art has a social purpose, and, if so, what this purpose might be.

Further Reading

Deborah Harter, ‘The Artist on Trial: Kafka and “Josefine, die Sängerin”’, Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift 61 (1987), 151-62

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

Michael Minden, ‘“Kafka’s Josefine, die Sängerin oder das Volk der Mäuse”, German Life and Letters 62 (2009), 297-310

J. P. Stern, The Dear Purchase: A Theme in German Modernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)

Thomas Vitzthum, ‘A Revolution in Writing: The Overthrow of Epic Storytelling by Written Narrative in Kafka’s Josefine, die Sängerin’, Symposium 47 (1993), 269-78