The Archeology of Minor Literature

Towards the Concept of the Ultraminor

in Journal of World Literature
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This article takes a “genealogical” approach to the concept of minor literature. It argues that the concept of minor literature originated with the idea of “triple ghetto” that emerged in the Prague Czech-German-Jewish environment and was applied to explain the work of Kafka and his fellow Prague writers. Minor literature is the most famous application of the “triple ghetto” concept. A close reconsideration of Kafka’s German/Czech/Jewish Prague reveals interesting relations among several “small,” “minor” and “ultraminor” literatures, relationships that Deleuze and Guattari overlooked. The relationships between various literary entities in Prague extend beyond the binary positioning of “minor” and “major” inherent in the concept of minor literature. In addition to Kafka’s relationship to German literature, we need to consider Kafka’s relationship to the “small” Czech literature, the marginal “ultraminor” German and German Jewish and Czech Jewish literatures of his times, and perhaps most interestingly, to writers who were equally at home in German and Czech.

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2

From 1893, for example, the street signs were in Czech only. On the Czech/German composition of Prague, see Sayer.

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