Kafka’s “Frightened Mouse”

Existentialist vis-a-vis Mystical Concepts in Ṣalāḥ ʿAbd al-Ṣabūr’s Poetry

In: Quaderni di Studi Arabi
Reuven Snir University of Haifa Haifa Israel

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Existentialist doctrine and neo-Sufi Arabic poetry share the conviction of the worthlessness of human existence – strangeness, alienation, wondering about the meaning and purpose of life, and deep depression after the tragic nature of human existence are imprinted on the character of man by the very nature of his humanness. Two short literary texts, one by the Austrian novelist Franz Kafka (1883–1924) and the other by the Egyptian poet Ṣalāḥ ʿAbd al-Ṣabūr (1931–1981), deal with such topics of the human existence presenting a new original vision. A mouse is the central figure of both of them. Despite the worthlessness of human existence, both texts offer some kind of hope and spiritual quest, a salvation in which death could be the gate to true life.

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