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Letters to Friends, Family and Editors

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eBook published by Schocken (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
"These magnificent letters, meticulously set up and annotated, show us aspects of Kafka that were only hinted at in earlier collections and help us trace his development from unhappy young law student and insurance administrator to novelist and short-story writer of originality and genius."
--Publishers Weekly

"When we turn from Kafka's books to his letters we have a series of self-portraits desperate and courageous, always eager and warm in feeling; the self is lit by fantasy and, of course, by drollery. His candor is of the kind that flies alongside him in the air. He was a marvelous letter writer."
--V.S. Pritchett, The New York Review of Books

"These letters are like messages from the underground, from the dark side of the moon, presenting aspects of Kafka that would have died with his friends. We meet alternately Kafka the artist, friend, son, father figure, marriage counselor, literary critic, insurance official. . . . A full portrait, and a significant contribution to Kafka scholarship."
--Smithsonian Magazine

"An inside view of a writer who, perhaps more than any other novelist or poet in our century, stands at the center of our culture."
--Robert Alter, The New York Times Book Review
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"These magnificent letters, meticulously set up and annotated, show us aspects of Kafka that were only hinted at in earlier collections and help us trace his development from unhappy young law student and insurance administrator to novelist and short-story writer of originality and genius."
--Publishers Weekly

"When we turn from Kafka's books to his letters we have a series of self-portraits desperate and courageous, always eager and warm in feeling; the self is lit by fantasy and, of course, by drollery. His candor is of the kind that flies alongside him in the air. He was a marvelous letter writer."
--V.S. Pritchett, The New York Review of Books

"These letters are like messages from the underground, from the dark side of the moon, presenting aspects of Kafka that would have died with his friends. We meet alternately Kafka the artist, friend, son, father figure, marriage counselor, literary critic, insurance official. . . . A full portrait, and a significant contribution to Kafka scholarship."
--Smithsonian Magazine

"An inside view of a writer who, perhaps more than any other novelist or poet in our century, stands at the center of our culture."
--Robert Alter, The New York Times Book Review
Product Details
eBook (528 pages)
Published: June 26, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Schocken
ISBN: 9780804150781
Other books byFranz Kafka
  • Letters to Ottla and the Family

    Letters to Ottla and the Family
    Written by Kafka between 1909 and 1924, these letters offer a unique insight into the workings of the Kafka family, their relationship with the Prague Jewish community, and Kafka's own feelings about his parents and siblings. A gracious but shy woman, and a silent rebel against the bourgeois society in which she lived, Ottla Kafka was the sibling to whom Kafka felt closest. He had a special affection for her simplicity, her integrity, her ability to listen, and her pride in his work. Ottla was deported to Theresienstadt during World War II, and volunteered to accompany a transport of children to Auschwitz in 1943. She did not survive the war, but her husband and daughters did, and preserved her brother's letters to her.  They were published in the original German in 1974, and in English in 1982. "Kafka's touching letters to his sister, when she was a child and as a young married woman, are beautifully simple, tender, and fresh. In them one sees the side of his nature that was not estranged. It is lucky they have been preserved." —V. S. Pritchett, The New York Review of Books

    Letter to his Father

    Letter to his Father
    Franz Kafka wrote this letter to Hermann Kafka in November 1919; he was then thirty-six years old. Max Brod relates that Kafka actually gave it to his mother to hand to his father, hoping that it might renew a relationship that had disintegrated into tension and frustration on both sides. Kafka's probing of the abyss between them spared neither his father nor himself, and his cry for acceptance has an undertone of despair. He could not help seeing the lack of understanding between father and son as another moment in the universal predicament depicited in so much of his work. Probably realizing the futility of her son's gesture, his mother did not deliver the letter, but returned it to Kafka instead. Kafka died five years later, in 1924, of tuberculosis.

    Letters to Milena

    Letters to Milena
    In no other work does Franz Kafka reeal himself as in Letters to Milena, which begins as a business correspondence but soon develops into a passionate but doomed epistolary love affair. Kafka's Czech translator, Milena Jesenska was a gifted and charismatic twenty-three-year-old who was uniquely able to recognize Kafka's complex genius and his even more complex character. For the thrity-six-year-old Kafka, she was "a living fire, such as I have never seen." It was to Milena that he revealed his most intimate self and, eventually, entrusted his diaries for safekeeping. "The voice of Kafka in Letters to Milena is more personal, more pure, and more painful than in his fiction: a testimony to human existence and to our eternal wait for the impossible.  A marvelous new edition of a classic text." —Jan Kott

    Letters to Felice

    Letters to Felice
    Franz Kafka first met Felice Bauer in August 1912, at the home of his friend Max Brod. The twenty-five-year-old career woman from Berlin—energetic, down-to-earth, life-affirming—awakened in him a desire to marry. Kafka wrote to Felice almost daily, sometimes even twice a day. Because he was living in Prague and she in Berlin, their letters became their sole source of knowledge of each other. But soon after their engagement in 1914, Kafka began having doubts about the relationship, fearing that marriage would imperil his dedication to writing and interfere with his need for solitude. Through their break-up, a second engagement in 1917, and their final parting later that year, when Kafka began falling ill with the tuberculosis that would eventually claim his life, their correspondence continued. The more than five hundred letters that Kafka wrote to Felice over the course of those five years were acquired by Schocken from her in 1955. They reveal the full measure of Kafka's inner turmoil as he tried, in vain, to balance his need for stability with the demands of his craft. "These letters are indispensable for anyone seeking a more intimate knowledge of Kafka and his fragmented world." —Library Journal

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