Young Franz Kafka, The tormented Poet

Franz Kafka

Novelist, Short Story Writer, Insurance Officer

Country:Kingdom of Bohemia(Czech Republic)

Lifetime: 1883 - 1924 Passed: ≈ 97 years ago

Franz Kafka was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work fuses elements of realism and the fantastic.

 

Kafka was born into a middle-class German-Jewish family in Prague, the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today the capital of the Czech Republic. He trained as a lawyer and after completing his legal education was employed full-time by an insurance company, forcing him to relegate writing to his spare time. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote hundreds of letters to family and close friends, including his father, with whom he had a strained and formal relationship. He became engaged to several women but never married. He died in 1924 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis.

 

Few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime.

 

Kafka grew up in Prague as a German-speaking Jew. He was deeply fascinated by the Jews of Eastern Europe, who he thought possessed an intensity of spiritual life that was absent from Jews in the West. His diary is full of references to Yiddish writers. Yet he was at times alienated from Judaism and Jewish life. On 8 January 1914, he wrote in his diary:

"Was habe ich mit Juden gemeinsam? Ich habe kaum etwas mit mir gemeinsam und sollte mich ganz still, zufrieden damit daß ich atmen kann in einen Winkel stellen. (What have I in common with Jews? I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe.)"

 

Towards the end of his life Kafka sent a postcard to his friend Hugo Bergman in Tel Aviv, announcing his intention to emigrate to Palestine. Bergman refused to host Kafka because he had young children and was afraid that Kafka would infect them with tuberculosis.

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Books by Franz Kafka