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The Mystical Life of Franz Kafka


In a long-overlooked diary entry, Franz Kafka admitted to suffering from bouts of clairvoyance. These bouts of clairvoyance can be seen in his writing, in moments when the solid basis of human cognition totters, the dissolution of matter seems imminent, and objects are jarringly severed from physical referents. June O. Leavitt offers a fascinating examination of the mystical in Kafka's life and writings, showing that Kafka's understanding of the occult was not only a product of his own altered states of consciousness but of the age in which he lived.

Kafka lived during the modern Spiritual Revival, a powerful movement which resisted materialism, rejected the adulation of science and Darwin, and idealized clairvoyant modes of consciousness. Under the colossal influence of Madame H.P. Blavatsky and her Theosophical successors, Kafka and his generation were encouraged to seek the spiritual essence of reality by inducing paranormal experiences and producing visions through meditative techniques.  Leaders of the Spiritual Revival also urged the adoption of certain lifestyles, including vegetarianism, in order to help transform consciousness and return humanity to its divine nature.

Interweaving the occult discourse on vegetarianism, the divine nature of animal life, clairvoyance, the spiritual sources of dreams, and the eternal nature of the soul with Kafka's dream-chronicles, animal narratives, diaries, letters, and stories, Leavitt takes the reader on a journey through the texts of a great psychic writer and the fascinating epoch of the Spiritual Revival.