Considered two of the most prominent and influential twentieth – century writers , Joseph Conrad ( 1857-1924 ) and Franz Kafka ( 1883- 1924 ) have achieved the most successful dramatic versions of the theme of isolation and spiritual recognition . Both writers present a grotesque vision of the world in which alienated individuals vainly seek to transcend their tormented condition or pursue some unattainable goal. Their fiction derives its power from the use of precise prose and realistic detail for the treatment of moral and spiritual problems . Their stories concentrate on the allegorical quality of the disorder of the modern world in a literary form .
The paper tries to concur the fact that Kafka s "A Hunger Artist" ( 1922 )and Conrad s "The Secret Sharer" ( 1912 ) allegorize the problem of the spiritual disunity of the isolated artist . This comparison is stressed because it seems that these two stories complement each other not only in the way they show that hunger , speechlessness , and art are parts of the same configuration , but also in the way that their final image shows the contrary of spiritual fulfillment embodied in the speechless state, a natural state devoid of the sin of self-consciousness . One wishes to argue that Kafka s and Conrad s stories anticipate virtually the important literary and artistic currents that have emerged since World War II . One then can recognize that Kafka s and Conrad s voice is the voice of modern man and woman overwhelmed by the laws of society over which we have little control .
This paper was published in a conference at Helwan University , Faculty of Arts 2005 .