Richard Dawkins is being ridiculed on Twitter for his opinion on literary classic, Franz Kafka’s novel, The Metamorphosis.
The 1915 fantasy fiction tells the story of a salesman, Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself inexplicably transformed into a huge insect, and how Samsa adjusts to this condition.
It has received wide critical praise, with literary critics discussing the possible different interpretations of the plot.
However, evolutionary biologist, Dawkins tweeted his thoughts on the novel, and his review isn’t exactly glowing:
“Kafka’s Metamorphosis is called a major work of literature. Why? If it’s SF (science fiction) it’s bad SF.”
He also referenced George Orwell’s 1945 novel, Animal Farm, which equally received a bashing.
“If, like Animal Farm, it’s an allegory, an allegory of what? Scholarly answers range from pretentious Freudian to far-fetched feminist. I don’t get it. Where are the Emperor’s clothes?”
Kafka’s Metamorphosis is called a major work of literature. Why? If it’s SF it’s bad SF. If, like Animal Farm, it’s… https://t.co/fchHvNR4vB— Richard Dawkins (@Richard Dawkins) 1622916473
Of course, Twitter wasn’t going to let Dawkins get away with this terrible literary hot take.
Someone responded Dawkins’ bizarre rant with a witty Metamorphisis joke.
@RichardDawkins Sounds like it really bugs you— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@Hannah Jane Parkinson) 1622919618
While one person hilariously recommended a series more suited to Dawkins’ understanding of literature - the book series, Animorphs aimed at 8-12-year-olds.
Another, also mocked Dawkins’ literary knowledge with a funny meme where the scientist questions how novels work.
@RichardDawkins Richard Dawkins, asking the questions of primary school children everywhere. https://t.co/6QK1gIlrHE— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1622931067
It appears that Dawkins is unaware that both The Metamorphosis and Animal Farm are not in fact science fiction novels.
The Metamorphosis is magical realism, while Animal Farm is a dystopian, political satire.
Fans of the novel were quick to point out this mistake to Dawkins.
Just imagine Richard Dawkins reading the first 30 pages of The Metamorphosis under the insane assumption it was sci… https://t.co/HA5ZFEGGpV— Shalyn Claggett (@Shalyn Claggett) 1622929502
As Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis was opened one morning, it found itself transformed in Richard Dawkins' mind int… https://t.co/GvYVUY5076— Pickle Horse-Man, Ordinary Psycho-Anthropologist (@Pickle Horse-Man, Ordinary Psycho-Anthropologist) 1622933848
@RichardDawkins Metamorphosis was published in 1915. Most of the grand masters of science fiction hadn't even been… https://t.co/79hVygWly1— dr J.T. Burman 🎓 (💉³) (@dr J.T. Burman 🎓 (💉³)) 1622927956
@RichardDawkins I've read thousands of SF/ Fantasy books over the years and I would never have classified Kafka's m… https://t.co/S1lAT9HdFg— Wait did you say cut the blue wir- (@Wait did you say cut the blue wir-) 1622944965
Elsewhere, people ridiculed Dawkins’ notion of what makes good literature.
@RichardDawkins the novella should have had a last page where it explained everything and broke it down in very sim… https://t.co/qRVaeb4GNf— Wild Geerters (@Wild Geerters) 1622920821
@RichardDawkins For somebody, who is supposedly intelligent and well educated, you are mindbogglingly stupid— Thony Christie (@Thony Christie) 1622920145
@RichardDawkins That’s an oddly utilitarian approach to art. What is the “purpose” of Romeo and Juliet - to teach a… https://t.co/nExGW8rrt0— FactsMatter (@FactsMatter) 1622917446
@RichardDawkins Nobody: Richard Dawkins: if a story has more room for interpretation than a literal children's book, it's bad— The Flight of Thiccarus (@The Flight of Thiccarus) 1622919170
Others noted that Dawkins seems to be filling the void Naomi Wolf left on Twitter, after she was banned for spreading myths about the pandemic.
@RichardDawkins Are you trying to fill the Naomi-Wolf-shaped hole in our collective twitter heart?— Tabitha McIntosh 🦡 (@Tabitha McIntosh 🦡) 1622918826
I'm not saying that Richard Dawkins is gearing up to fill the void Naomi Wolf's ban has just created but I honestly… https://t.co/0S05giNI9n— Phil Hare's Ghost 💙🖤 (@Phil Hare's Ghost 💙🖤) 1622943912
With Naomi Wolf gone from Twitter, Richard Dawkins has stepped up to fill the “dumb public intellectual”-shaped hole she left behind.— Paula Matzke (@Paula Matzke) 1622935381
It’s very thoughtful of Richard Dawkins to step again into the role of Twitter Main Character, just when the modera… https://t.co/FwcnCbIqdG— Alex von Tunzelmann (@Alex von Tunzelmann) 1622921438
Many concluded that Dawkins’ unpopular opinion is the reason that STEM students should also study literature too.
Richard Dawkins shredding literature is actual living proof of why STEM-only education is a bad idea, children.— The Angela of Our Discontent (@The Angela of Our Discontent) 1622921413
Richard Dawkins consistently serves as an excellent reminder of the need for people studying STEM subjects to have… https://t.co/WWZPpbX9yN— dr alex (@dr alex) 1622960444
@RichardDawkins you're a living example of why stem students should be forced to study humanities— Izzy🏳️🌈🌹 (@Izzy🏳️🌈🌹) 1622939560
richard dawkins tweet asking about bare bones basics of literature is a grim reminder that STEM people really need… https://t.co/tNux3Ddadh— sam 🌹 (@sam 🌹) 1622929911
@RichardDawkins STEM brain can affect anyone. If you or someone you know is suffering from STEM brain, consider tal… https://t.co/4OwTDuJlcQ— hides his eyes (@hides his eyes) 1622929989
Maybe, Dawkins should stick to science, rather than sharing his odd literary reviews.
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