Kafkaesque

adjective
Kaf·​ka·​esque | \ ˌkäf-kə-ˈesk How to pronounce Kafkaesque (audio) , ˌkaf- How to pronounce Kafkaesque (audio) \

Definition of Kafkaesque

: of, relating to, or suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings especially : having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality Kafkaesque bureaucratic delays

Kafkaesque Literature

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a Czech-born German-language writer whose surreal fiction vividly expressed the anxiety, alienation, and powerlessness of the individual in the 20th century. Kafka's work is characterized by nightmarish settings in which characters are crushed by nonsensical, blind authority. Thus, the word Kafkaesque is often applied to bizarre and impersonal administrative situations where the individual feels powerless to understand or control what is happening.

First Known Use of Kafkaesque

1939, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Kafkaesque.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Kafkaesque. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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