Franz Kafka – 130 Years

When you open a Google Doodle today, it’s Franz Kafka’s 130 years birthday. Since Kafka’s a such important and influencial writer in 20th Century, we’d like to post some quick information here. There are some titles by Kafka available for loan from Parramatta City Library.

The information here is from Literary Reference Centre, our library’s database

Franz Kafka (KAHF-kah) was born on July 3, 1883, in Prague (now in the Czech Republic), the first child born to Hermann and Julie Kafka. A second son died in infancy, leaving Franz as the only son, with three younger sisters. Kafka reacted negatively to his paternal forebears. His grandfather had been a butcher, something that Kafka found so repugnant that he became a vegetarian. His works contain descriptions of meat and wounds that reflect this revulsion. His father was in business and owned his own shop, and Kafka was bothered by his father’s gruff and insulting treatment of his employees. This recollection is perhaps reflected in Die Verwandlung (1915; The Metamorphosis, 1936), in Gregor Samsa’s description of the hostile and suspicious chief clerk. Kafka’s mother was unable to give him the attention that he would have liked, since she also worked in the store, but Kafka felt more affinity with her side of the family, particularly with his bachelor uncles, one of whom, Siegfried Lowy, was a country doctor.

Kafka is probably the only author who has treated such profound subject matter without couching it in poetic language. His unadorned style, consistently simple syntax, and workmanlike prose present the subject matter in such a lucid and accessible manner that the works speak persuasively to the inner psyche. They remain disturbing and enlightening excursions into the nature of the self that are valid for all time.

The human psyche is Kafka’s main topic, not political or social commentary, and not specifically autobiography, although clearly his was the mind he knew best. While it is helpful for the reader to have some knowledge of his biography, of Prague, of the time in which Kafka lived, and of concurrent intellectual developments, it is not essential. The works transcend Kafka’s immediate situation. They have been translated into numerous languages and are effortlessly understood as masterpieces by every culture in which they are read.

More info go to the library online database or reserve a title for yourself.

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