Kafka, Franz

Kafka, Franz

biographical name


Kafka—Archiv für Kunst und Geschichte, Berlin

(born July 3, 1883, Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary—died June 3, 1924, Kierling, near Vienna, Austria) Czech writer who wrote in German. Born into a middle-class Jewish family, he earned a doctorate and then worked successfully but unhappily at a government insurance office from 1907 until he was forced by a case of tuberculosis to retire in 1922. The disease caused his death two years later. Hypersensitive and neurotic, he reluctantly published only a few works in his lifetime, including the symbolic story The Metamorphosis (1915), the allegorical fantasy In the Penal Colony (1919), and the story collection A Country Doctor (1919). His unfinished novels The Trial (1925), The Castle (1926), and Amerika (1927), published posthumously against Kafka's wishes, express the anxieties and alienation of 20th-century humanity. His visionary tales, with their inscrutable mixture of the normal and the fantastic, have provoked a wealth of interpretations. Kafka's posthumous reputation and influence have been enormous, and he is regarded as one of the great European writers of the 20th century.

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