Franz Kafka


i was just wondering if anyone had any information that would give me some of Franz's influences related to any of his works! I'm doing a presentation and if you could e mail me on your thoughts it would be greatly appreciated!

my email is

>>By becca   (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 12:56)

One of the most amazing writers of all. In the time of Franz he was the only with courage to write about the man and he´s fears, and have been one of the icons of this kind of literature..

>>By JosephK   (Thursday, 20 Feb 2003 14:34)

I have read all the stories in his book "The Metamorphosis and Other Stories" and i find them fascinating i think he is a great writer but weird.

>>By AMM   (Tuesday, 11 Mar 2003 14:36)

could anyone help me by telling me who were some of kafka's influences throughout his life especially when he was wrighting The Trial. could you also tell me were their any sigificance behind the names he uses in The Trial? could you e-mail me at thank you

>>By lang   (Monday, 7 Apr 2003 04:50)

I have read "Conversation with a Worshiper" , and have yet to really understand it. But the more that II read it I start to understand bits and pieces.
It is a very odd short story filled with massive details, but the translations of his stories must still lack his
full context.

>>By Einstieny   (Sunday, 4 May 2003 11:42)

At the first glance The Metmorphosis may be taken as a fruit of human fantasy, or a work of science fiction, since in real life people usually do not transform into beetles. It is a fruit of fantasy, but is as far from science fiction as is reality. The Metamorphosis is an allegory of the human life, as it presents a microcosm of the universal struggle between an individual and his/her society.
The protagonist of the story, Gregor Samsa, wakes up one day and realizes that he has turned into a beetle. Even though his new condition disables him and renders him ugly, he should not be pitied. It is his previous life– a life dominated by the societal dogma of providing for the physical survival and starving the inner world to death – that should evoke pity. Gregor’s peculiar metamorphosis, promptly followed by his death, should be taken as a positive event in his life: By suddenly becoming an ugly and a useless burden, Gregor is isolated from the world, represented by his family. This isolation enables the beetle to unite with his own self realize the pettiness of the life around him. Thus, by introverting, for he is ultimately rejected by everyone, Gregor undertakes the path of existentialism, as he, free from the chains of his society, can now be himself. His seemingly pathetic condition exposes the pettiness of the average decency and typical dignity of the life around him. Even though Gregor’s sister, Grete, initially takes care of her afflicted brother, she ultimately, like any normal human being, joins her society by rejecting the beetle and leaving him to die. This show of family love evinces the superficiality of the human relations, which, according to the change in the Samsas’ reaction to Gregor from that of respect for his material contribution to that of hatred for his inability to contribute, is based on the outward value of the related. Finally, the philosophy of existentialism is evident in this story: Gregor’s fate presents him with a lottery ticket that instead of giving Gregor another ten-dollar bill to live his meaningless life, invaded by his parasitic society, offers him a chance to die a short, but meaningful, death. A death, whose deathbed will allow Gregor to see the spiritual quagmire of his world.

>>By Irina   (Monday, 26 May 2003 06:10)

Anyone seeking for interpretations and especially links between Kafka´s writing and his personal life history, should consult a book written by Max Brod "Franz Kafka", who was Kafka´s contemporary and best friend. Max Brod was the one who actually rescued Kafka´s unpublished writings from being lost after Kafka´s death. Thanks to Brod the work of Franz Kafka has been saved for us to read.

Good luck with your presentations.

>>By Devi   (Monday, 7 Jun 2004 21:58)

Does anyone have anything to say about the trial. I found it to be a difficult read. Help!

>>By effelk   (Monday, 14 Jun 2004 15:31)

It is several years since I read the trial, but I do remember thinking it was a brilliant book at the time. If you haven't read it, here is a synopsis (well, what I can remember!):
Essentially, the protagonist, Joseph K (if I have remembered it correctly), finds himself arrested and charged with an unspecified crime. Although he is subsequently released (at least for a while), all his attempts to discover what charges have been brought against him run into dead ends or endless bureaucratic labyrinths.
In the meantime, his case continues to be processed and he eventually comes to trial. Even now, he still doesn't know with what he has been charged. After the farcical nature of the trail (how can a man defend himself if he doesn't know what he has been charged with?!) he is sentenced.
I won't reveal the ending, because that might ruin it for anyone who hasn't read it, but you can probably guess what happens.
As far as I can tell, this chilling tale can be read in several ways. It can be seen as an early example of existential literature, as an anti-totalitarian tract, or as merely a warning against the rise of a excessive bureaucracy! I haven't studied Kakfa so I would be interested to see what other people do think its allegorical meanings (if any) are.
Personally, I read it as a combination of the three. From the moment he is arrested, K is trapped in a series of inexorable events. He has no way of escaping his fate. This existentialist theme is echoed in works such as Metamorphosis (above). That he is trapped in a nightmare world of conflicting and contradictory bureucrats, non of whom will give him a straight answer, can be seen as the madness of a totalitarian system that will go to extraordinary lengths to keep it's subjects in line. Other books, most famously Orwell's 1984, have explored these sorts of ideas also.
Anyway, I'm sure somebody will be able to put me right on most of that!! Like I said, it is quite a while since I read it and I am no student of literature outside of getting a lot of fun out of reading!!
Hope this adds to the debate though.
sees ya...

>>By lualabear   (Monday, 14 Jun 2004 17:50)

I've read The Metamorphosis years ago and some of Kafka's short stories. I used to be real into him now that I think about it. Ironically I can relate to Kafka more today than when I read him. Kafka is brave that is for sure. He's brave in bareing a loathsome side of himself. It is through knowing this about himself that I believe, allows him to see life around him so accutely. You have to think about bearing yourself in such a way as Gregor does. To be made into a being which has to accept his groutesqueness. It could be similar to living with a mamed limb or face, being degraded into a lower form of self out of an unforseen event. Think of the perspective that this adds to your life. Not that anyone should purposely persue a lower form of living just to understand Kafka, but you can imagine the kind of yearning for the past this would create; and the form of the past nonetheless. Imagine this happening in the minds of all the elderly and homeless and unemployed or injured. From this position the regular world is interpreted from the outside. Of course the mind imagines this state without worrying too much, but the key is accepting that you can no longer be returned or restored. If you were, by the same process of metemorphosis, how could you come to turns with what you perceived?
In a movie I just saw "In In Praise of Love" by Godard, THere is a scene with an elderly woman who reveals that the old cannot conceive of the plans of others for fear of wasteing away. That living fear is undermined by Gregor who witnesses his formerly incapable parents get up and go to work proving that the mental incapacitated can undermine even the concept of retirement. Thats just remarkable! The old get going, the weak get strong, like a brain, that when part is destroyed compensates and evolves. Then what was the struggle and dayly grind all about? What can be perceived as the true potential of a unit of people?
I sometimes wonder if experiencing life as a lower form gives appreciation for what you have or just leads to having spite and feelings of injustice. As a painter I sometimes feel like a bug. Especially when it comes to laboring in processes that, unless the work is immediately striking, are ugly and sticky and dirty things to do. I have become accustomed to being secretly angry when someone refers to my studio as dirty because paint has treaded over the floors and walls. I also think of the creative process as a kind of bug-like regurgeitation. So I think of Gregor from time to time. Anyhow, this was my first post, I could go on forever on Kafka, but will stop for now. If anyone wants to respond that would be wonderful.

>>By beendone   (Monday, 16 Aug 2004 11:04)

I had to study this my German degree- we primarily studied Metamorphosis and the Trial- my tutor suggested that Kafka is obsessed with authority and the abuse of that power especially within families and the father/son relationship. As a child, Kafka was locked outside just because he woke his father to get a glass of water at night and this deeply affected him and his relationships.(My tutor also said there is a lot of red herrings in the Trial- the fact K. eats an apple or the story - Vor dem Gesetz- before the law- the one about the man forever waiting to be admitted to the law.) "Briefe an dem Vater"- Letters to my father explains all this. If you look at Metam.. closely, you see that Gregor is turned into a beetle because then he is removed from the family dynamic - he's the main wage earner- and how the family cope with their new situation. There's a really good short story which illustrates this but the name escapes me- it's about a man who takes over the business and home after his mother dies and he has to take care of his depressed father. The son has built a life for himself and is fairly happy but when he tells his father he is to move away, an argument ensues. The father grows in strength so much so that he commands the son to kill himself which he does. Even then, the son's last thought is about his parents.

>>By Dzham   (Wednesday, 25 Aug 2004 23:30)

Do your own damn research, lazy bums.

Kafka is not his narrators.
Godard is not Kierkegaard.

>>By cointelpro   (Thursday, 26 Aug 2004 08:23)

Kafka basically was one screwed up cookie.
He was a Jewish Check, and to be succesful in Prague (his hometown) you learned German.
2 conflicts right there. (Jewish vs. Germans, Check heritage vs needing to learn German)
He also had a very strange reationship with his father, always wanting to be accepted, but he could never be a success. to his father, artists were vermin, and writers were the worst.
Kafka studied law (interesting that he would write such a strory as "The Trail") to please his father, and only wrote at night so that his father wouldn't find out.
But nothing ever pleased him. eventually he lost all self worth, wanting all his writings to be erased at his death.

In the trail, what I got out of it (best explained by K's talk with the Abbot about the peasant trying to enter the law) is the ambiguousness of concepts such as the law, paralleled by man's innate desire to attain such things.
Another Kafka theme is the foolishness of a task paralleled with devotion to the task (best exemplified by "in the penal colony")
Not to mention the mootness of individuality and the powerlessness of man in society ("The Trail, "Metamorphosis", "The Castle")

I think Kafka is pretty much indirectly his narrotors, since as all the conflicts in his life eventually led him to believe that he was worthless (hence wanting to destroy the works that Brod ended up saving), basically he wanted to die, or to disappear. But he felt so worthless that he couldn't even kill himself ("you who can never do anything, you would have yourself commit suicide? Impossible.")
Instead kakfa sentences himself to death, themes seen in "The Verdict", and "the Trail" and the short exert where a noose wraps around the narrators neck and drags him through a house carelessly, not to mention all of the overpwoering father figures("Metamorphasis", "America", "The Verdict"), and the . Sure the narrators are not kakfa themselves, but it seems a little to similar to be a coincidence.
Some writer said that Kafka wanted to be sodomized by his father. O_o

>>By Plastic Passion   (Tuesday, 12 Oct 2004 23:50)

Of all the writers i've read in my life, Kafka is one of the few that had an extremely strong impact. Too bad that there isn't more of his material out there. I love his depictions of people "passing the buck" and other alienating things we all encounter to a lesser degree in real life. ( Someone said that Kafka is not as relevant these days because we are now all of us K. Well, most of us, anyway. ) My favorites are the first half of "The Castle", "In the Penal Colony", and stories like "The Burrow" about quirky animals. Some of his short aphorisms and prose poems are great too. I, too, have always wondered if he was influenced by any writer - because his voice is so original and distinctive. I forget what year Dostoevsky's "The Double" was written. Just the other day, I read "The Bound Man" by Ilse Aichinger, which reminded me of Kafka's story about the man who stayed permanently balanced on the high wire. It's interesting to give yourself artificial constraints when creating a work of art. There are books written where certain letters of the alphabet are not allowed, for example. Another writer has forced himself to only put down sentences that are composed of interlocking puns, but to do it in such a way that it is not apparent to the reader that he is constrained by this. I think Kafka was fascinated by people imposing and acecepting constraints which could sometimes be considered "unnatural." I would like to have a large poster of him on my wall, next to one of someone like Poe, perhaps.

>>By plumester   (Saturday, 30 Oct 2004 22:36)


>>By bloody rose   (Saturday, 12 Jul 2008 16:50)

Franz Kafka is one of my all time favorite writers, and I'm pleased to say that I live within walking distance of the house where he was born. It's a crappy gift shop now, but there's at least a street named after him, as well as a tiny little square, tucked just at the corner of Old Town Square. Prague (Praha) is a fantastic city, now justifiably proud of her literary son. I'd first been exposed to Kafka as a child, and it was the Metamorphosis that I read. I took it as science fictional and quickly lost interest since not much more happened aside from the protagonist waking up from a night of fitful dreams to discover that he'd transformed into an enormous vermin. It wasn't until later that I'd gained a more realistic appreciation for Kafka, and now, something of a kindred-writer's friendly obsession. Living in Prague has exposed me to a LOT MORE of Kafka's world that I ever thought a living person could experience, and in re-reading, re-re-reading, and re-reading yet again, tales such as the Metamorphosis, I've come to see quite a lot of similarity to other shorter works of his, namely two companion stories, "The Judgement" and "The Stoker." They're collected into a single volume, simply entitled The Sons, and for anyone interested in Kafka's philosophies, especially in regard to the dysfunctional nature of apparently ALL families, I'd suggest looking for "The Sons" which is beautifully rounded out by Kafka's somewhat over the top Letter to My Father (more often called Letter to His Father.) The Sons, as a single work of literature, stands high up on my list, primarily because of the unflinching honesty in which the stories play out, and also because more of Kafka's vision is displayed here. Soulless authority is still at the core of his focus, but he's also profoundly interested, and indeed obsessed, with matters of paternity. I'd also point to The Castle as a brilliant novel, though my current experience in Prague has brought me into too close an association with the events in that novel, and rather like Kafka himself, I'm actually ready to declare that Prague is a mother with claws...and she has a habit of sinking them deeply into anyone she doesn't want to let go of...but ah...that's another rambling post for another time.

>>By Chipchik   (Thursday, 17 Jul 2008 02:38)

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