Impossible Spaces: The Architecture of Kafka and Borges | Newberry

Impossible Spaces: The Architecture of Kafka and Borges

Led by Harrison Sherrod. 6 sessions, 6 - 7:30 pm
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Wednesdays, June 13 - July 25 (class will not meet on July 4)

6 - 7:30 pm

Cost and Registration Information

Early Registration Price (April 17 at 10 am – May 4 at 4 pm): $200
Regular Registration Price (May 4 at 4 pm – first day of class): $220

Members, seniors, and students get a 10% discount.

Register Online

Excuse our dust!

The Newberry is undergoing an extensive first floor renovation in 2018. This project will be ongoing during the Summer 2018 seminar term. The Adult Education Seminars Program still has use of the basement classrooms, but please check this link frequently for the latest conditions - which exterior doors are open or closed, where to find an accessible entrance, which restrooms are available, etc.

Because of the renovation, the Newberry Bookstore will be closed during the Summer 2018 term. As such, seminar participants will be responsible for acquiring all required texts for their seminars on their own. We apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, and appreciate your understanding. We have put together a list of helpful resources that should make it easy to find the books you need.

Seminar Description

What if Franz Kafka and Jorge Luis Borges, in addition to being modernist masters of magical realism, were also secretly groundbreaking architects? Both authors shared a keen eye for spatial anatomy, and their stories frequently feature characters tasked with navigating bizarre buildings and structures, replete with trap doors, labyrinthian passageways, and secret chambers. Instead of reading these spaces metaphorically, this class will interpret them as literal blueprints through the lens of architecture and design. Six sessions.

Harrison Sherrod manages a film production company by day and teaches weird seminars at the Newberry by night, including courses on everything from metaphysical detectives and con games, to Star Wars and Marxism.

Materials List


  • Jorges Luis Borges, Labyrinths. New Directions, 2007. ISBN#: 978-0811216999
  • Franz Kafka, The Castle. Schocken, 1998. ISBN#: 978-0805211061

First Reading:

  • For the first class, please read “The Library of Babel” and “The Garden of Forking Paths” in Borges’ book.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program. Learn more about our registration procedures.