Monday, October 20, 2003

Hunger Artist

Reading about David Blane's London stunt reminded me of an old college favorite, Franz Kafka's A Hunger Artist. So I found a copy on the web (it's amazing how many classics you can find online these days - and yet, people still buy books) and gave it a read to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was. Better, in fact.

For those that aren't familiar, a hunger artist is a person who starves himself or herself for the sake of art - basically, preforming stunts not unlike Blane. In Kafka's story, hunger artists used to be revered with painters, sculptors, and athletes, but have since gone out of style. The artist of the title still continues in his craft, however, despite the fact that he no longer draws crowds.

Hunger Artist is one of those stories that are many things, and nothing at all. If someone were to ask "what is Kafka's "Hunger Artist" about?", I wouldn't know how to respond. On one level, it's a meditation about dedication to art, but that only captures a fraction of the story. It's a tale about changing times, about why someone continues to do a job that is obviously useless, and it's about the unusual ways in which people find fulfillment. And that's still only scratching the surface.

Lovely stuff. Click on the link above to give it a read.

What I'm reading: went to the comic store today, so it'll be X-Men, Avengers, and 1602 Part 3.
What I'm listening to: Tommy James and the Shondells - Crimson and Clover.
What I watched tonight: Watched a PBS special on Venice, which only made me long to go back. Will watch Simpsons later if the fucking Yankees get the hell of my TV.

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