Kafka’s 130th birthday

„Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheuren Ungeziefer verwandelt.“

“One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.” – The Metamorphosis


Franz Kafka was born on July 3 1883 in Prague in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. He lived in Prague most of his life and worked as a law clerk. He wrote about alienation and psychological angst before his death, aged 40, from tuberculosis as a virtual unknown. He published very little during his lifetime and in his will he wrote that his work, including the then unpublished including “The Trial” and “The Castle” is to be destroyed “in it’s entirety and unread”. His friend author Max Brod failed to comply with his friend’s request and got Kafka’s work published posthumously.
Kafka is considered one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, and the term Kafkaesque, which describes surreal nightmarish qualities like those found in Kafka’s works, has become the most commonly used literary adjective.

Watch, read and listen:

Steven Soderberg announced earlier this year that he will recut his 1991 film “Kafka” starring Jeremy Irons. And he is also dubbing the whole thing in German, so the accent issue goes away. We are curious about the outcome of this ambitions project, hopefully it will be in Soderberg’s webstore soon, until then:
Watch the Soderberg Film in the original version:

Franz Kafka – 130th Birthday from Pablo Delcán on Vimeo.

“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

Read what Walter Benjamin wrote about Kafka:
Walter Benjamin: excerpt from Franz Kafka: On the Tenth Anniversary of his Death, from Jüdische Rundschau, 1934, translated by Harry Zohn in Illuminations, 1968

“Say what you like, but The Trial is my greatest work, even greater than Citizen Kane.“
Watch Orson Welle’s 1962 film adaption of “The Trial”:

Listen to the chamber opera In The Penal Colony, based on the Kafka short story of the same name by the Philip Glass.

Read his heartbreaking letter to his father:

Dearest Father,

You asked me recently why I maintain that I am afraid of you. As usual, I was unable to think of any answer to your question, partly for the very reason that I am afraid of you, and partly because an explanation of the grounds for this fear would mean going into far more detail than I could even approximately keep in mind while talking. read on