Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel
heh... actually i don't really think he's absurdist (although i do think his tone is often quite kafkaesque), i just didn't want to absolutely deny that he was in case nobody agreed with me... but fabulist works. what would you call kafka's works ? dystopian fabulist ? (it's a sincere question ; i have a hard time categorizing things sometimes. if i had to name a genre for kafka on pain of death i would say he was the archetypal kafkaïst
I'd call Kafka more of an absurdist.
Kafka's worldview strikes me as basically dystopian. His stories take place in worlds that don't make sense, and the characters have no guidelines. I'd certainly call him absurdist.
Calvino's worldview seems more inherently cheerful to me. I think he's exploring the difference between symbol and reality, and the fact that "the map is not the territory". I think of _Invisible Cities_, where Marco Polo spins tales to Kubla Khan about places that he's visited, and speaks of cities that have been, cities that are, cities that might be, and via different perspectives explores the idea
of the city.
Calvino is telling modern day fables, but fables have their roots in archetype and symbol, and give us means to help us better understand our reality. I'm not sure Kafka believed that we could
understand our reality, that what we thought we knew was probably wrong, and that we might not like it if we did
a vague bell is better than no bell... which is what i have so far. actually a vague bell is really encouraging, at this point.
But maddening, like an itch I can't scratch. Argh!