Kurt Beals

Assistant Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures​
PhD, University of California, Berkeley
research interests:
  • 20th and 21st-Century German Literature and Culture
  • Translation Theory and Practice
  • Experimentalism and Avant-Gardes
  • Digital Humanities

contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1104
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

Professor Beals' research focuses on experimental movements in 20th-century and contemporary German poetry, including Dada, Concrete poetry, and digital poetry.

Beals focuses on the ways that these movements incorporate, respond to, and reflect on contemporaneous developments in media technologies and information theory.

For more information, visit Kurt Beals' department profile.

Is That Kafka?

Is That Kafka?

In the course of compiling his highly acclaimed three-volume biography of Kafka, while foraying to libraries and archives from Prague to Israel, Reiner Stach made one astounding discovery after another: unexpected photographs, inconsistencies in handwritten texts, excerpts from letters, and testimonies from Kafka's contemporaries that shed surprising light on his personality and his writing.

Is that Kafka? presents the crystal granules of the real Kafka: he couldn't lie, but he tried to cheat on his high-school exams; bitten by the fitness fad, he avidly followed the regime of a Danish exercise guru; he drew beautifully; he loved beer; he read biographies voraciously; he made the most beautiful presents, especially for children; odd things made him cry or made him furious; he adored slapstick. Every discovery by Stach turns on its head the stereotypical version of the tortured neurotic—and as each one chips away at the monolithic dark Kafka, the keynote, of all things, becomes laughter.

For Is that Kafka? Stach has assembled 99 of his most exciting discoveries, culling the choicest, most entertaining bits, and adding his knowledgeable commentaries. Illustrated with dozens of previously unknown images, this volume is a singular literary pleasure.