Even though Franz Kafka is one of the greatest, most popular, and most influential authors of the twentieth century, he has to this day remained inexplicable, and his life and literary legacy are subject to various interpretations. These diaries offer us a glimpse into the real Kafka, the man behind the mysterious artist, with all his feelings, fears, ambitions, and dreams.
Covering the time from 1909 to 1923, just a year before the author’s untimely demise, Diaries open the gates to Kafka’s world, providing us with extremely interesting notes about the cultural and social life in Prague at the beginning of the twentieth century. No less interesting are Kafka’s notes on his feelings towards his father who he loved and with whom, due to the ambitions he was trying to pass onto his son, he never managed to establish a harmonious relationship, towards his friend and biographer Max Brod, and to the woman he never married. Finally, his notes of dreams, filled with a constant feeling of guilt and Kafka’s struggle to prove himself as a writer to a world led by dark and unknown mechanisms, fascinate.
Diaries aren’t just necessary to understand Kafka and his novels and short stories, they are an easily legible display of one incredibly turbulent life that makes us think.
* * *
I must visit my sister and her little son. Yesterday when mother returned from my sisters’ at one o’clock in the morning with news of the boys birth, my father started opening all the apartment doors still in his nightwear, and the maid woke me and my sisters up and announced the birth in such a way as if the child had not only been born, but had already led an honorable life and even had a funeral.
* * *
At noon my father reproached me that I’m not taking care of the factory. I stated that I had taken a share because I was expecting profit, but while I’m in the office I cannot work. Father was still protesting, I stood silently by the window. But a thought stemming from that discussion arose in the evening, that I can be completely satisfied with my present position and just have to mind to free-up all my time for literature.
* * *
Me and Max are probably fundamentally different. No matter how much I admire his texts, when they are in front of me as a whole unattainable to my own and any other person’s reach, even today’s series of short book reviews, still every sentence he writes for Richard and Samuel is tied to some reluctant concession on my end, which I feed painfully and deeply. At least today.
* * *
Max didn’t like the latest parts I had written, in any case because he thinks they’re not in harmony with the whole, and maybe because he himself considers them bad. This is probable because he had been warning me not to write so broadly because he sees the effect of such writing as something gelatinous.
- ISBN: 978-953-369-003-2
- Unit ISBN: 978-953-369-004-9
- Dimensions: 142×205 mm
- Number of pages: 232
- Cover: paperback
- Year of the edition: 2022
- Original title: Tagebücher
- Original language: German
- Translation: Nadežda Čačinovič