‘Vort paard, hu!’: Charlotte Mutsaers’ Animal Writing through Kafka’s Animal Stories

Barbara Fraipont


Charlotte Mutsaers’ essayistic and literary work displays a complex relation to Kafka’s animal writing. While Mutsaers often refers in her work to Kafka’s animal texts, she also distances herself from Kafka’s representation of a ‘becoming-animal’ in his short story Die Verwandlung (1912). In order to better understand Mutsaers’ relation to Kafka and to gain insight into the underlying animal poetics and politics of the Dutch author, this article focuses on Mutsaers’ novel Rachels Rokje (1994). Using the framework of the Cultural and Literary Animal Studies (CLAS) and Deleuze and Guattari’s thinking on animality, it shows how Mutsaers both deterritorialises and reterritorialises Kafka’s animals in her novel. By referring to a zoe-approach as defined by Braidotti (2011), this article argues that Mutsaers’ zoopoetics not only occurs in a playful manner, but also in a biopolitical perspective in which a form of affinity and egalitarianism between species is put forward. 


Charlotte Mutsaers; becoming-animal; Franz Kafka; animal metaphor; zoopoetics; performativity; human-animal affinity; zoe; biopolitics / Charlotte Mutsaers; dierwording; Franz Kafka; dierenmetafoor; zoöpoëtica; performativiteit; bio-politiek

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