Friday, July 11, 2008

What You should Expect in Kafka Papers

What do you expect in the newly discovered Kafka papers? Any new stories or novels? Little chance. Max Brod scanned it all and published every worthy stuff. Notebooks or letters? Probably yes. According to one of his biographers, Franz Kafka used to maintain notebooks, and had filled twenty notebooks with his writing. Some of Kafka’s letters might be in the papers.

As we all know, Kafka gave away all his manuscripts to his close friend Max Brod. Prior to his death at age 41, he instructed his friend to burn all of his writings. Brod in his good sense ignored his friend’s order, and kept them with him. In the wake of the Nazis invading Prague, Brod had to flee, but he took utmost care to carry along with his valuables the two suitcases stuffed with Kafka writings. Later, he oversaw the publication of most of his works in his possession.

The newly discovered papers are part of Brod’s possession, which he didn’t publish for whatever reasons. May be Brod did not consider them publishable, or those contained material not suitable for readers at that time. But they are still important, and can shed light on the great writer.

Kafka has always been a literary puzzle. With just a few stories published during his lifetime, he got noticed only posthumously. Then he never finished any of his novels except The Metamorphoses.
Yet he was an iconic writer and influnenced the world litearture in a big way.

I have always seen Kafka as an author who foresaw the horrors of capitalism, and used them exclusively in 'The trial' and his other writings.

The world Kafka had lived and written about has changed hugely since. Capitalism has now come a full circle with all of its horrible attendants. The Kafka papers, at this juncture, may prove to be an interesting read.

1 comment:

S Roy said...

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us...We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of
someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide.
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us"

In my opinion, the above quote of Kafka, is the truth behind the success of a "real writing," and will beat all the boundaries of time and space.

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