The Diaries of Franz Kafka: 1910-1923

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Overview

These diaries cover the years 1910 to 1923, the year before Kafka’s death at the age of forty. They provide a penetrating look into life in Prague and into Kafka’s accounts of his dreams, his feelings for the father he worshipped and the woman he could not bring himself to marry, his sense of guilt, and his feelings of being an outcast. They offer an account of a life of almost unbearable intensity.

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Diaries of Franz Kafka: 1910-1923

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Overview

These diaries cover the years 1910 to 1923, the year before Kafka’s death at the age of forty. They provide a penetrating look into life in Prague and into Kafka’s accounts of his dreams, his feelings for the father he worshipped and the woman he could not bring himself to marry, his sense of guilt, and his feelings of being an outcast. They offer an account of a life of almost unbearable intensity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In Kafka we have before us the modern mind splendidly trained for the great game of pretending that the world it comprehends in sterilized sobriety is the only and ultimate reality there is—yet a mind living in sin with the soul of Abraham. Thus he knows two things at once, and both with equal assurance: that there is no God, and that there must be a God. It is the perspective of the curse: the intellect dreaming of its dream of absolute freedom, and the soul knowing of its terrible bondage.”
—Erich Heller
 
“It is likely that these journals will be regarded as one of [Kafka’s] major literary works; his life and personality were perfectly suited to the diary form, and in these pages he reveals what he customarily hid from the world.”
—The New Yorker
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805209068
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1988
  • Series: Schocken Classics Series
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 244,683
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka was born in 1883 in Prague, where he lived most of his life. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories, including “The Metamorphosis,” “The Judgment,” and “The Stoker.” He died in 1924, before completing any of his full-length novels. At the end of his life, Kafka asked his lifelong friend and literary executor Max Brod to burn all his unpublished work. Brod overrode those wishes.

Biography

Franz Kafka was born in 1883 to a well-to-do middle-class Jewish family. His father, the self-made proprietor of a wholesale haberdashery business, was a domineering man whose approbation Franz continually struggled to win. The younger Kafka's feelings of inadequacy and guilt form the background of much of his work and are made explicit in his "Letter to His Father" (excerpted in this volume), which was written in 1919 but never sent.

Kafka was educated in the German language schools of Prague and at the city's German University, where in 1908 he took a law degree. Literature, however, remained his sole passion. At this time he became part of a literary circle that included Franz Werfel, Martin Buber, and Kafka's close friend Max Brod. Encouraged by Brod, Kafka published the prose collection Observations in 1913. Two years later his story "The Stoker" won the Fontaine prize. In 1916 he began work on The Trial and between this time and 1923 produced three incomplete novels as well as numerous sketches and stories. In his lifetime some of his short works did appear: The Judgment (1916), The Metamorphosis (1916), The Penal Colony (1919), and The Country Doctor (1919).

Before his death of tuberculosis in 1924, Kafka had charged Max Brod with the execution of his estate, ordering Brod to burn the manuscripts. With the somewhat circular justification that Kafka must have known his friend could not obey such an order, Brod decided to publish Kafka's writings. To this act of "betrayal" the world owes the preservation of some of the most unforgettable and influential literary works of our century.

Biography courtesy of BN.com

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    1. Date of Birth:
      July 3, 1883
    2. Place of Birth:
      Prague, Austria-Hungary
    1. Date of Death:
      June 3, 1924
    2. Place of Death:
      Vienna, Austria
    1. Education:
      German elementary and secondary schools. Graduated from German Charles-Ferdinand University of Prague.

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2002

    The great genius of anxiety

    It may be argued that the best of Kafka is not in his novels, but in his smaller more intimate writings, parables,letters, diaries.The diaries of Kafka are line by line one of the great works of literary genius.The unique insight, the special power of observation which is Kafka's alone inform every line of this work. He is the great master of anxiety, of understanding the inner life in all its complexities and ambiguities,hesitations and fears. And yet what a terrible beauty there is in his meditations and questionings of himself,and his relation to his parents, sisters, friends, and fiancees. There is too in this work one of the most illuminating reflections by a writer on the meaning of writing .And this when for Kafka writing is ' prayer'and his one possible path to salvation . There is only one Kafka only one who went deeper than any other writer in exploring the infinite pains of delay and indecision . To read these diaries is not an easy experience, it is a test of the reader 's ability to endure through the difficult inner world of nightmare and fear.And yet it is too an act of consolation .For again Kafka sees and writes and makes beautiful everyday life as no one else can.This work is in a sense the story of innumerable failures in everyday life which are redeemed by the enduring quality of the literary work. Kafka won in literature and did not win in life. Wouldn't it have been even more remarkable had he realized the dream of his last years, married Dora Dyamant and made his way to the Hebrew speaking world where he envisioned himself finding what proved to be for him an impossible new strength and freedom. This work cannot be more highly recommended. It expands our sense of what we are as humans in beauty and fear.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2012

    I believe this is the first full collection of Kafka's diaries.

    I believe this is the first full collection of Kafka's diaries. I remembered reading some of this in undergrad and found it compelling and intimate. The re-introduction of this material is just wonderful, like stumbling upon an old (smart) friend. The cover art is beautiful, and this is one I will re-read a few times. Really lovely book!

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