How can I make my writing kafkaesque


The adjective kafkaesk describes an unfathomable feeling of threat, the uncertainty or des Being at the mercy, for example in the face of a power lying in the dark.

The term is not a foreign word in the strict sense of the word. It does not originate in a foreign language, but in the name of the writer Franz Kafka.

For example, in Kafka's unfinished works “Das Schloss” and “Der Prozess” the protagonists find themselves at the mercy of an impenetrable and inaccessible bureaucracy.

Initially, the term was only used in the literary environment, where works that had a similar mood and style to the works of Kafka, as kafkaesk were designated. In today's parlance, real situations, facts and structures can also be used as kafkaesk to be discribed.


Audio sample: Listen to the pronunciation
Phonetic transcription (IPA):[kafkaˈʔɛsk]

Usage examples

She did not know who the right contact person was for her concern or whether there was one at all. She was only sent from office to office, from clerk to clerk, without a glimmer of hope of being able to master her predicament. In this downright kafkaesque She almost went insane in the situation.

He did that kafkaeske Experience, without basis and without being able to turn to anyone, to be pilloried.

It got really disturbing when I was checked a third time within the agency. Despite my clear conscience and the clear file situation, that crept up on me kafkaeske Feeling of being the subject of an anonymous investigation, the cause of which I learned just as little as its result.
- Joachim Walther (2006), Stasi: Always on duty, Die Zeit, December 7, 2006 No. 50.

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