Only a poet could have written Auden’s The I Without a Self. His essay on Kafka displays a mastery of concision.
Another of Auden’s notions played on my mind today: the creation of character.
Sometimes in real life one meets a character and thinks, “This man comes straight out of Shakespeare or Dickens,” but nobody ever met a Kafka character. On the other hand, one can have experiences which one recognises as Kafkaesque, while one would never call and experience of one’s own Dickensian or Shakespearian.
At a tangent, this also suggests Iris Murdoch’s contention, essentially correct, that she never created a memorable character.