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19. - 20. století

Franz Kafka

One of the most influential writers of the 20th century
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He was a Jewish writer from Prague and is one of the world’s most renowned writers of the 20th century.
Kafka was a very complicated man. All his life he felt lonesome and weak, unhappy with his destiny and under constant pressure. His relationship with women was also complicated. For him, sex was a sort of “waste” of love and he saw it as something that corrupts the pure relation, although he didn’t renounce its practice. His first companion of many years was Felicia Bauer, who he met in 1912. He was twice engaged to her and twice separated, once was because of his relation with his friend Greta, who got pregnant and gave birth to Kafka’s only son. However, nobody, not even Kafka, knew about this. His son was placed in a foster family and died at the age of 7. Greta waited until 1940 to talk about it. Shortly after, he also lived with Julie Vohryzek, and later, by the end of his life, with the orthodox Jew Dora Diamant. In the end, his most stable relationship was the friendly and postal relationship with his first translator, the journalist Milena Jesenska.
He was born into the large family of a Jewish merchant in Prague. His bad relationship with his father nourished his feelings of impropriety and rootlessness

since an early age. He studied law as well as German studies and art history, and in 1902 he met Max Brod, who became his life-long friend. He graduated in 1906 and found a job in an insurance company, which he utterly hated. He started writing in 1908. By the end of 1917 he was affected by tuberculosis, because of which he was forced to leave his job in 1922. He then undertook a final yearlong journey from sanatorium to medical institution, but nothing helped. Kafka died in 1924 in Austria. In his testament he requested the destruction of his unpublished legacy, which was enormous. Dora Diamant destroyed the manuscripts in her possession, but luckily Max Brod didn’t respect his last will.
Kafka wasn’t much renowned during his lifetime, but after the Second World War and the full publication of his works, he became one of the most admired writers of the 20th century. His works reflect his own intellectual ambivalence, they express pettiness as opposed to the terrifying might of the “power” and they are full of tragic culminations and endings. He is world-renowned as one of the greatest masters of novels.

The Metamorphosis, 1915
The Trial, 1925
Amerika, 1927
Letters to Milena
Letters to Felicia


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