Letter to His Father

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Conflict between father and son is one of the oldest themes in literature, and in this open letter to his father—a letter that was never sent—Kafka tries to come to terms with one of the most deeply rooted obsessions of his troubled soul. Written as a long, tense, and dramatic confession in which writer and man are gathered together in front of an ambivalent figure of authority, Letter to My Father is a desperate attempt to retrace the origins of a turbulent and highly conflicted relationship between an ...

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Letter to His Father

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Overview

Conflict between father and son is one of the oldest themes in literature, and in this open letter to his father—a letter that was never sent—Kafka tries to come to terms with one of the most deeply rooted obsessions of his troubled soul. Written as a long, tense, and dramatic confession in which writer and man are gathered together in front of an ambivalent figure of authority, Letter to My Father is a desperate attempt to retrace the origins of a turbulent and highly conflicted relationship between an unflinching parent and an extremely sensitive child. Kafka’s inspired work is both a merciless indictment of his father and an impassioned appeal to him.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805201277
  • Publisher: Schocken Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/1980

Meet the Author

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka (1883–1924) was one of the major German-language fiction writers of the 20th century, known for The Metamorphosis and The Trial.

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.

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