Commemorating Kafka

Just to mention that today, 3rd July 2019 is the 136th anniversary for one of my favourite writers: Franz Kafka who was born in 1883, into a middle-class family in Prague – then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Austro-Hungarian Empire highlighted in map of Europe pre-1914
Austro-Hungarian Empire pre-1914

By background he was a German speaking, Bohemian Jew. He had a troubled relationship with his Jewish side which fluctuated between fascination and alienation, and he would often contrast the Jews of Eastern Europe with those in the West. Although self-conscious, he went on to form numerous short term and sometimes intense relationships with women he met. These would sometimes provoke a productive period of writing from him. He never married. Kafka blended realism and telling characterisations of the state with the fantastic. Most of his work was in German. Few of his works were published in his lifetime.

Collage of Kafka published in Penguin, UK - Metamorphosis, The Trial
Front covers to The Trial, Metamorphosis, back cover to the Trial

He died in 1924 from tuberculosis. He left his unpublished works to his friend and literary executor, Max Brod with instructions for them to be burned. Most were unfinished and their narratives were disorganised so Brod began the process of preparing them for publication. Gradually they began to attract attention. His works dealt with alienation and persecution. The term Kafkaesque (reminiscent of oppressive and nightmarish qualities of Kafka’s works) has entered the English language. Not all Kafka’s papers have been published and they continue to be the subject of an ongoing legal wrangle.

Franz Kafka in 1906

Particularly liked: The Trial (Der Prozess)

Kafka offers important weapons to the armoury of the speculative fiction writer

About Terence Park

Board games, US Comic books, SF Paperbacks, Vinyl records; I've plenty of them all. I write SF (the serious sort). I also do spreadsheets.
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