2003 Abstracts Stage 3

The Journals of Kurt Cobain in Relation to Kafka’s Diaries

Mark Watson, 2003, Stage 3

The title of my Stage 3 project asks the question ‘Is It Ethically Acceptable That The Journals of Kurt Cobain Have Been Made Accessible To The Public?’ Objectives: 1. To determine whether one can justify the posthumous publication of the Nirvana singers’ extremely personal journals when it will become abundantly clear that the publication would have been against his will. 2. To compare and contrast Cobain to Franz Kafka in terms of both having had their diaries published posthumously against their will. To compare the similarities in their personalities and writings. 3. To argue against Max Brod, friend of Kafka and publisher of his diaries, who, owing much to the Kantian tradition, would say that one does not own one’s own thoughts, therefore endorsing such publications. Change: In terms of viewing specific changes, I will investigate into how the views of reading somebody’s personal thoughts may have changed in the seventy years between their deaths (Kafka- 1924, Cobain- 1994), or indeed the publications of their diaries by those close to them (Max Brod- 1958, Courtney Love, Cobain’s widow- 2002). I will ask if the changing nature of the diary and the celebrity could justify the publications. Sources: Primary sources will of course be the published diaries of Cobain and Kafka themselves, with additional material in the form of commentaries on the diaries, and biographies on the subject (one written by Brod himself). Expectations: I expect to discover that by the end of the project I will have found no explanation or excuse that will justify the publication of Cobain’s diaries, or even Kafka’s by arguing for the authenticity of the individual as we may find within the work of Heidegger and Nietzsche.

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