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Conversations with Kafka
     

Conversations with Kafka

by Gustav Janouch, Francine Prose (Introduction), Goronwy Rees (Translator)
 

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A literary gem – a portrait from life of Franz Kafka – now with an ardent preface by Francine Prose, avowed “fan of Janouch’s odd and beautiful book.”
Gustav Janouch met Franz Kafka, the celebrated author of The Metamorphosis, as a seventeen-year-old fledgling poet. As Francine Prose notes in her wonderful preface, “they fell

Overview

A literary gem – a portrait from life of Franz Kafka – now with an ardent preface by Francine Prose, avowed “fan of Janouch’s odd and beautiful book.”
Gustav Janouch met Franz Kafka, the celebrated author of The Metamorphosis, as a seventeen-year-old fledgling poet. As Francine Prose notes in her wonderful preface, “they fell into the habit of taking long strolls through the city, strolls on which Kafka seems to have said many amazing, incisive, literary, and per- things to his companion and interlocutor, the teenage Boswell of Prague. Crossing a windswept square, apropos of something or other, Kafka tells Janouch, ‘Life is infinitely great and profound as the immensity of the stars above us. One can only look at it through the narrow keyhole of one’s personal experience. But through it one perceives more than one can see. So above all one must keep the keyhole clean.’”
They talk about writing (Kafka’s own, but also that of his favorite writers: Poe, Kleist, and Rimbaud, who “transforms vowels into colors”) as well as technology, film, crime, Darwinism, Chinese philosophy, carpentry, insomnia, street fights, Hindu scripture, art, suicide, and prayer. “Prayer,” Kafka notes, brings “its infinite radiance to bed in the frail little cradle of one’s own existence.”

Editorial Reviews

Leonard Michaels - The New York Times Book Review
“Stunning.”
Joyce Carol Oates - Partisan Review
“This remarkable book, itself the result of a miraculous discovery of material believed lost, is one of the most exciting works– fiction, nonfiction, poetry– I remember having read.”
Gustav Janouch
“Kafka is for me one of the last, and therefore perhaps one of the greatest, because closest to us, of mankind’s religious and ethical teachers.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811219501
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
01/26/2012
Edition description:
Second Edition
Pages:
228
Sales rank:
1,253,737
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Gustav Janouch (1903–1968)
was a young poet whose father worked at the same insurance company as Kafka. A certain amount of controversy has been aroused by his Conversations with Kafka:
some have been skeptical that any human being can talk the way
Kafka does in this book, but both
Max Brod and Dora Diamant considered it authentic.

Born in Brooklyn, Francine Prose has published fourteen novels. The Washington Post has called her work a “sheer delight.”

Goronwy Rees(1909 –1979) was aWelshjournalist, academic, translator and writer.

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