Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy

Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy

by Benjamin Balint
Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy

Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy

by Benjamin Balint


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Winner of the 2020 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

"Dramatic and illuminating…[R]aises momentous questions about nationality, religion, literature, and even the Holocaust." —Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic

When Franz Kafka died in 1924, his loyal friend Max Brod could not bring himself to fulfill Kafka’s last instruction: to burn his remaining manuscripts. Instead, Brod devoted his life to championing Kafka’s work, rescuing his legacy from both obscurity and physical destruction. Nearly a century later, an international legal battle erupted to determine which country could claim ownership: the Jewish state, where Kafka dreamed of living, or Germany, where Kafka’s three sisters perished in the Holocaust? Benjamin Balint offers a gripping account of the controversial trial in Israeli courts—brimming with dilemmas legal, ethical, and political—that determined the fate of Kafka’s manuscripts.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393357387
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/08/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 681,454
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Benjamin Balint is the author of Bruno Schulz and Kafka’s Last Trial, awarded the 2020 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, and is coauthor of Jerusalem: City of the Book. A library fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, he regularly writes on culture for The Wall Street Journal, the Jewish Review of Books, and other publications.

Table of Contents

1 The Last Appeal 3

2 "Fanatical Veneration": The First to Fall under Kafka's Spell 16

3 The First Trial 32

4 Flirting with the Promised Land 49

5 First and Second Judgments 70

6 Last Son of the Diaspora: Kafka's Jewish Afterlife 85

7 The Last Ingathering: Kafka in Israel 101

8 Kafka's Last Wish, Brod's First Betrayal 121

9 Kafka's Creator 132

10 The Last Train: From Prague to Palestine 142

11 The Last Tightrope Dancer: Kafka in Germany 155

12 Laurel & Hardy 173

13 Brod's Last Love 189

14 The Last Heiress: Selling Kafka 202

15 The Last Judgment 209

Epilogue 221

Acknowledgments 231

Notes 233

Bibliography 255

Index 269

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