Franz Kafka, “The Hunger Artist”.

Artista della fame.

Shrine of Dreams

In 1922 Franz Kafka published a short story called “The Hunger Artist”. He was relatively happy with the story — he exempted it from his posthumous instructions to Max Brod to destroy his writings — and it was included in a collection of stories published in Berlin in 1924. Kafka died before the collection was printed.

The story concerns a hunger artist who continues to perform after the fashion for hunger artistry has died out. He occupies a cage in a circus sideshow and few people bother to even glance at him as they walk by. One day the circus manger says, “What’s that pile of dirty straw in that cage?” And when they sweep out the straw, Lo! there’s the hunger artist, diminished and dying. The manager tries to lift his spirits, “We admire you.” But the artist says that they shouldn’t. “If only I could find the food I liked, I would…

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