"Franz Kafka - " Don't bend, don't water it down, don't try to make it logical, don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. "
Franz Kafka one of my favourite authors was a Jewish Czech writer born in Praque who died at the age of 40, in 1924, of TB largely unpublished and unknown. After his death with the posthumous publication of his novels, letters and diaries he rose to international fame as a literary genius, one of the founding fathers of magic realism and the modern novel.
He is now considered the most influential profoundly misunderstood writers of our time. His most famous works are two unfinished novels, The Trial and The Castle and the short story The Metamorphosis.
His family was of German culture but as they belonged to the ghetto, they were excluded from realtionships with the German minority in Praque. His father ruled the family with great authority. This led to him becoming an extremely sensitive adult, with a delicate personality. His writings stem from his battle with tuberculosis, complicated by neurosis and psychosomatic disorders associated with organic disease. His complicated love life did not make it any easier for him, despite his complcations, he was a bit of a ladies man
He was not an ordinary person, he was different living in a state of anxious solitude, which resulted in him turning into a tormented genius. "I need solitude for my writing " the author said, but "not like a hermit - that wouldn't be enough but like a dead man." He was also an admirer of the anarchist Peter Kropotkin, and was drawn into the world of libertarian socialism.
Kafkas strange stories, appeal to me a lot, earning their own adjective, Kafkaesque, to describe an aspect of social reality and political science tend to overlook. With his libertarian sensibility, Kafka succeeded in capturing the oppressive and absurd nature of the bureacratic nightmare, the opacity, the impenettatable and incomprehensive character of the rules of the state hierarchy as they are seen from below and outside, which destroys the mind and body and numbs the soul. Sadly a lot of his work still chimes with the world today as the world again descends into racism and madness. Everybody should read some Kafka.
Will Self's Kafka journey: A Praque walking tour.