Life-Study of Franz Kafka (1883-1924) Using the Intensive Journal Method of Ira Progoff

Author: Gestwicki, Ronald
Most studies of lives rely on objective methods of analysis. The Intensive Journal method relies instead on the subjective capacities of the investigator, and is particularly sensitive to how depth or unconscious processes are at work in the life, not from the perspective of pathology, but from the perspective of growth. Each "chapter" works through a period of time in Kafka's life as if he were keeping the journal. This is not an imaginative exercise but a careful following of the Intensive Journal method for working non-analytically in a life. You have the sense of being taken through Kafka's life as if you were he.


"Having steeped himself in the facts of Kafka's life, Gestwicki has, over a period of several years, followed a carefully articulated set of exercises which lead to a profound engagement with the life of his subject. The result is extraordinary. Reading it I was at first overwhelmed with the intricacy of the entries. . . . In the "Meetings" sections Gestwicki opens himself to dialogues with Kafka. It is these that carry some of the most moving passages of the study. The reader has the sense of immediacy. . . . Throughout Gestwicki's pioneer work there is the ring of truth, a ring that stretches and strengthens our sensitivity to the human experience and our understanding of the life of one of this century's most creative individuals." - Virgil Peterson

". . . In the case of this experiment with the life of Kafka the results are quite remarkable. Not only is the book's value in the learning of a hermeneutical technique; but it also opens new reflections concerning Kafka. . . . If the reading is labyrinthine, like wandering in a labyrinth it is fun, especially when accompanied by an Ariadne. Progoff's technique is the thread of Ariadne, and Dr. Gestwicki has strung it well." - David L. Miller