The Black Mass: The Judgment by Franz Kafka

Join us on Fri­day at a lit­tle after 12 noon or 4pm Pacif­ic time, 8pm or mid­night in the UK , for anoth­er episode in the land­mark radio dra­ma series The Black Mass, cre­at­ed by the late Erik Bauers­feld and his col­leagues at the Paci­fi­ca radio sta­tion KPFA in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, over fifty years ago. In 30 chill­ing tales of mys­tery, imag­i­na­tion and the human mind, The Black Mass brings you some of literature’s most haunt­ing sto­ries, by mas­ters of the craft — many of whom are best-known in oth­er fields.

Note that the pro­gramme will not begin until the track play­ing at the top of the hour has fin­ished, so the actu­al start time of the episode will be a few min­utes after the hour.

Today: The Judg­ment by Franz Kafka

The Judg­ment” (“Das Urteil”), also trans­lat­ed “The Ver­dict”, is a short sto­ry writ­ten by Franz Kaf­ka in 1912, con­cern­ing the rela­tion­ship between a man and his father. Kaf­ka wrote “The Judg­ment” in a sin­gle sit­ting on Sep­tem­ber 22, 1912. In lat­er writ­ings, he described the cre­ative out­burst of “The Judg­ment” as “the total open­ing of body and soul,” say­ing that “the sto­ry evolved as a true birth, cov­ered with filth and slime.” Kaf­ka viewed the work as “one of his most suc­cess­ful and per­fect lit­er­ary cre­ations” which he was able to write in a “semi-uncon­scious state of mind.”

Wikipedia says of Franz Kafka:

Franz Kaf­ka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was a Ger­man-speak­ing Bohemi­an nov­el­ist and short-sto­ry writer, wide­ly regard­ed as one of the major fig­ures of 20th-cen­tu­ry lit­er­a­ture. His work fus­es ele­ments of real­ism and the fan­tas­tic. It typ­i­cal­ly fea­tures iso­lat­ed pro­tag­o­nists fac­ing bizarre or sur­re­al­is­tic predica­ments and incom­pre­hen­si­ble socio-bureau­crat­ic pow­ers. It has been inter­pret­ed as explor­ing themes of alien­ation, exis­ten­tial anx­i­ety, guilt, and absur­di­ty. His best known works include “Die Ver­wand­lung” (“The Meta­mor­pho­sis”), Der Process (The Tri­al), and Das Schloss (The Cas­tle). The term Kafkaesque has entered the Eng­lish lan­guage to describe sit­u­a­tions like those found in his writing.

The Black Mass art­work was cre­at­ed by Ter­ry Lightfoot.