Franz Kafka is one of the most instantly recognisable names in global literature but during his lifetime he was unknown, suffering an insular existence, plagued by insecurity, and weighed down by a crippling existential dread. He spent most of his adult life living in a tiny flat in Prague with his tyrannical father and his subservient, distant mother. Kafka was a notoriously strange character, with an irrational and intense fear of mice taking over his apartment. Stranger still he was a Fletcherist (along with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry James) a person who follows the strict rule to chew each mouthful of food hundreds of times before swallowing. Despite his personal sufferings he recognised in himself a vast intellect and sensitivity and from a young age dedicated himself to bearing witness to his own dreamlike inner life and his sufferings through lucid, deceptively simple prose. By dedicating himself to this mission Kaftka developed a prose style and subject that explores isolation, brutality, bravery and transformation, perfectly expressing the horrors, alienation and the anxieties faced by millions at the onset of the first world war. The work struck such a chord with the public consciousness that a new word was invented to encapsulate the feeling, the adjectective Kafkaesque, evoking a nightmarish world. His body of work is considered one of the most influential of the 20th century and regardless of their absurdist and fantastical nature, encourages us to contemplate what being human really means.
Very Beautiful copy in Great Condition 1937