Abstract / Synopsis
The infinite plays a significant role in many of Franz Kafka's stories. In this note we show that a version of the middle-thirds Cantor set construction appears in Kafka's Great Wall of China. His description of the Wall's construction mirrors an iterated system of functions whose limit set is the Cantor set; we present the relevant mathematical details and a close reading of the text of the story to illustrate this metaphor.
Kevin P. Knudson, "Franz and Georg: Cantor's Mathematics of the Infinite in the Work of Kafka," Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, Volume 7 Issue 1 (January 2017), pages 147-154. DOI: 10.5642/jhummath.201701.12. Available at: https://scholarship.claremont.edu/jhm/vol7/iss1/12