A Hunger Artist
by Franz Kafka
Celebrity managers get a bad rap, don't they? On TV and in the movies, agents and managers are often portrayed exploiting the talented artists or athletes that they represent or manage. Similarly, the hunger artist's manager does all he can to make the artist's performance a spectacle, and in doing so, betrays the artist's desire to become the greatest hunger artist ever.
The manager's dramatic tactics seem reasonable enough. The act alone isn't impressive – why would anyone want to watch a guy not eating in a cage? And, as we see in the circus scene, without the manager's theatrics, the hunger artist is easily overlooked and forgotten. Perhaps a more interesting take on the manager is as the artist's alter ego. Despite the artist's moping about artistic purity, the artist does desire, in fact needs, an audience to appreciate and adore him, and the manager helps fill that need.