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264 days ago

Franz Kafka

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Franz Kafka is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the early 20th century, not least on major writers such as Samuel Beckett and Albert Camus. The word “Kafkaesque” has been coined to describe a form of distorted, surreal reality that can apply to the workings of government and officialdom. This derives from descriptions of such circumstances in his works.

Franz Kafka was born on 3rd July 1883 in Prague, which was then in the Bohemian region of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His parents were German-speaking Jews. He graduated in law, but always wanted to be a writer. However, for most of his working life he was employed as an official in the accident prevention department of the government-sponsored Worker’s Accident Insurance Institution, which gave him plenty of experience of “Kafkaesque” situations.

His personal life was never easy, due largely to his introspection, hypersensitivity, and inability to form meaningful relationships. He never married, although he did find happiness towards the end of his life when he lived in Berlin with a kindergarten teacher named Dora Diamant.

He was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1917, when aged 34, and this steadily worsened over his remaining few years, meaning that he spent much of his time in various sanatoriums. He died, aged 40, on 3rd June 1924.

His writings consisted mainly of stories and essays, which were published during his lifetime, but he also wrote three novels, none of which was completed, and which were only published after his death, with translations into English following several years later.

Among his best known works were the novels “Prozess” (1925, translated in 1937 as “The Trial”) and “Das Schloss” (1926, translated as “The Castle” in 1937).

In The Trial, a man is prosecuted for a crime, although he is never told what that crime is, and neither is the reader. In The Castle, a man attempts to gain access to whoever it is in the castle who governs the local village. The novel has been described as a modern “Pilgrim’s Progress” in which no progress is made.

Throughout his work, Kafka portrayed society as being a pointless, over-rational world into which bewildered but unshocked individuals can stray and never escape from.
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Shavkat It is nice to know the history.
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