3 de out. de 2022

Franz Kafka - Czech writer - Biography

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a German-speaking Czech writer, considered one of the main writers of Modern Literature. His works portray the anxiety and alienation of 20th century man.

Franz Kafka was born in Prague, at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in the current Czech Republic, on July 3, 1883. He was the son of Julie Kafka and Hermann Kafka, a wealthy Jewish merchant.

He grew up under the influence of Jewish, Czech and German cultures. His childhood and adolescence were marked by the domineering father figure for whom only material success was important.

From 1901 to 1906 he studied law at the University of Prague, where he met his great friend Max Brod, his later biographer.

While still a student, he frequented the literary and political circles of the small Jewish community where critical and nonconformist ideas and attitudes circulated, with which Kafka identified.

After completing the course, he started to work in an insurance company as a work accident inspector. Despite his professional competence, he was always dissatisfied, as he could not fully dedicate himself to literary activity as he wished.

Literary career

Kafka had a troubled emotional life, intimidated by the harsh upbringing he received from his father and by the unhappy betrothals and loves. He became an isolated and rebellious person, a behavior that deeply marked his work.

Kafka was only happy when he knew that he was far from his father's presence, and that happiness was full of surprises and fears.

Fear is a factor present in his work, all his characters, who are their own reflection, are people or animals who fear something and cannot even explain the origin and cause of their fear.

In 1909 he published “Description of a Fight”, when he expressed the feeling of loneliness and helplessness that would never leave him.

In this disturbing narration, which went almost unnoticed, the world of dreams, a constant theme in his production, acquired a disconcerting and persistent logic in the world of reality.

In 1910 he began to write his "Diaries", written in a notebook with nervous handwriting and with passages crossed out and replaced by others.

In 1915, Kafka meets Milena, who was trapped in a marriage that was about to fall apart, which happened years later. He writes in his diary that time and happiness have passed and there is not much to expect from an existence wasted between struggles and fears.

The Metamorphosis

In 1915, Kafka published The Metamorphosis, in which the character wakes up one morning from an agitated dream and finds himself transformed into a huge and disgusting insect.

The story unfolds on a plane of absolute realism, with a precision of details that are not only plausible, but even banal.

Kafka puts in the work, without compassion and without obeying political schemes or sociological concepts, the heavy, suffocating and monotonous atmosphere of bourgeois life in a family home.

The process

In the work The Trial, the central character is banker Joseph K., who is arrested and a lawsuit is filed against him for reasons he never discovers.

In general, the action takes place in an atmosphere of dreams and nightmares and delusions mixed with everyday facts that make up a plot in which unreality borders on madness.

The Process was written between 1914 and 1915, but was left unfinished and untitled. The work was only published in 1925 by his biographer.

Last years

In 1917, Franz Kafka took time off work due to tuberculosis and underwent long periods of rest. In 1922 he left his job for good and spent the rest of his life in sanatoriums and bathhouses.

In 1923 he met Dora Dymant who became a devoted companion and accompanied him on his stays in the sanatoriums.

Franz Kafka died in Kierling, near Vienna, Austria, on June 3, 1924, aged just 41.

Other works:

The Sentence (1916)

Letter to My Father (1919)

In the Penal Colony (1919)

A Country Doctor (1919)

The Castle (1926)

Franz Kafka quotes

"Time is your capital and you have to know how to use it. Wasting time is ruining life".

"If I am condemned, I am not only condemned to death, but also to defend myself until death."

"And as he led a divine existence, God took it for himself and no one saw him anymore".

"A book must be the ax that will split the frozen seas within our soul."

"I get the real sense of myself only when I'm unbearably unhappy."



Sidney Matias

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