"Kafka's survey of the insectile situation of young Jews in inner Bohemia can hardly be improved upon: 'With their posterior legs they were still glued to their father's Jewishness and with their wavering anterior legs they found no new ground.' There is a sense in which Kafka's Jewish question ('What have I in common with Jews?') has become everybody's question, Jewish alienation the template for all our doubts. What is Muslimness? What is femaleness? What is Polishness? These days we all find our anterior legs flailing before us. We're all insects, all "Ungeziefer, "now." --Zadie Smith "Kafka engaged in no technical experiments whatsoever; without in any way changing the German language, he stripped it of its involved constructions until it became clear and simple, like everyday speech purified of slang and negligence. The common experience of Kafka's readers is one of general and vague fascination, even in stories they fail to understand, a precise recollection of strange and seemingly absurd images and descriptions--until one day the hidden meaning reveals itself to them with the sudden evidence of a truth simple and incontestable." --Hannah Arendt
About the Author:
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) is one of the most influential fiction writers of the early 20th century; a novelist and writer of short stories whose works, only after his death, came to be regarded as one of the major achievements of 20th century literature. He was born to middle class German-speaking Jewish parents in Prague, Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The house in which he was born, on the Old Town Square next to Prague's Church of St Nicholas, today contains a permanent exhibition devoted to the author. Kafka's work-the novels The Trial (1925), The Castle (1926) and Amerika (1927), as well as short stories including The Metamorphosis (1915) and In the Penal Colony (1914)-is now collectively considered to be among the most original bodies of work in modern Western literature. Much of his work, unfinished at the time of his death, was published posthumously.
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