KAFKA, Franz

(1883 - 1924)
"One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin"

Franz Kafka was born in Prague on 3rd July, 1883 to a German speaking Jewish family. He trained as a lawyer before beginning to write short stories. Only a few of his works were published during his lifetime, including, in 1915, his most famous creation Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis) in which salesman, Gregor Samsa wakes to find himself trapped in the body of a giant beetle, Kafka forbade the publishing of other works and burnt many of his own letters and manuscripts.

Kafka suffered from Tuberculosis and died at the age of 41 leaving a letter to his friend and literary executor, Max Brod which read, “My last request: Everything I leave behind me . . . in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others’), sketches and so on, to be burned unread.”  Max Brod ignored his friend’s request and immediately signed an agreement to publish Kafka’s remaining work including three novels, America, The Castle and The Trial.

Kafka’s work explores themes of alienation and parent-child conflict, having himself experienced a troubled relationship with his father. His writing heavily influenced other existentialist writers, such as Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre and the term “Kafkaesque” referring to situations that are nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical has passed into everyday speech.

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