Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

The Hunger Artist

November 24, 2005

Here’s one for the archives: Google (images) ‘Hunger Artist’

Happy Thanksgiving, by the way.

Thank you, Ines!

Modern day hunger artist
The Hunger Artist in Birmingham…

debra at 8:04 | | post to


  1. Writer Franz Kafka is perhaps best known for his dark and edgy stories filled with fantastic settings and almost unbelievable characters. But what of his sense of humor? Not only do his stories contain passages of ironic situations, but the dialogues engaged in by the peoples of these stories have a certain “gallows humor” about them.

    Perhaps the best example of Kafka’s use of irony is held until the end of his 1922 story “The Hunger Artist.” “The Hunger Artist” is the story of a man whose “art” is fasting for forty days, to not only show that it can be done, but that it can be done with style. Greatly admired in his youth, the artist is now aging and interest in his art is waning. As he grows despondent over this lack of interest he decides to break the forty day “rule” and just keep going. As he is about to die from starvation, the artist is roused by the manager of the sideshow he now exhibits at. With his final breath he explains his real reason for being a hunger artist wasn’t to be the best hunger artist there was but rather, “Because I couldn’t find the food that I liked. If I had found it, believe me, I should have made no fuss and stuffed myself like you or anyone else” (Kafka 277). The crew of Monty Python could not have staged a more twisted or obtuse ending to this strange story.

    Comment by Dr. Theodore Mangrove — November 28, 2005 @ 19:09

  2. What an honour to have the smartest man on earth comment on my weblog! However do you find the time?

    Comment by debra — December 6, 2005 @ 23:51

  3. I’m truly mortified by his post because I myself used the word “specificity” yesterday and as soon as I did I thought, “you pretentious tool” but then I left it there anyway because it’s a rather pleasant-looking word.

    Comment by Mark — December 9, 2005 @ 7:26

  4. I quite like the term ‘pretentious tool’!

    Comment by Debra — December 16, 2005 @ 20:03

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