Kafka and Borges: A Parallel Reading

BPAKPR, Section 14S1,Thursday, 10:00 AM – 1:15 PM, Gleacher Center

Writers freely share they have been influenced by Franz Kafka (1883-1924) and/or Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). Readers who like Kafka tend to like Borges as well, despite the differences in the two authors’ thematic and stylistic treatment of the existential and epistemological questions of universal interest. Through a parallel reading of Kafka’s and Borges’ most popular short stories, we will explore the kinship between these two artists, whose works have shaped the idiosyncrasies of the twentieth-century fiction.

NOTE: In preparation for our class discussions, please read the assigned stories more than once.


  • Kafka, Franz. The Complete Stories. Schocken Books. 1971. ISBN-13: 978-0805210552.
  • Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions. Penguin, 1999. ISBN-13: 978-0140286809.


  • April 3 (5 pages). Kafka: Before the Law; On Parables; Give It Up! / Borges: Everything and Nothing; A Dialogue about a dialogue
  • April 10 (25 pages). Kafka: The Judgment / Borges: The Aleph
  • April 17 (28 pages). Kafka: A Hunger Artist / Borges: The Garden of Forking Paths; Averröes’ Search
  • April 24 (23 pages). Kafka: The Great Wall of China / Borges: The Circular Ruins; The Lottery in Babylon
  • May 1 (28 pages). Borges: Funes, His Memory; Shakespare’s Memory; The Immortal
  • May 8 (42 pages). Kafka: The Burrow / Borges: The Library of Babel
  • [May 15 – NO CLASS. Katia at a conference]
  • May 22 (50 pages). Kafka: The Metamorphosis
  • May 29 (31 pages). Kafka: Unhappiness; The Bucket Rider / Borges: Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius; Blue Tigers
  • June 5 (36 pages). Kafka: In the Penal Colony / Borges: Ibn-Hakam al Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrinth
  • June 12 (13 pages). Kafka: A Country Doctor; At Night / Borges: The Maker; Parable of the Place; Dreamtigers; Borges & I