Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka wanted all his manuscripts to be burned after his death, but his friend Max Brod disregarded the request, seeding a complex legal battle over thousands of manuscripts that has the literary world agog. That legal tussle takes a new twist today as four safety deposit boxes in a Zurich bank containing the manuscripts are opened.
The boxes are believed to contain thousands of manuscripts by Kafka and Brod, including letters, journals, sketches and drawings, some of which have never been published and could provide literary detectives an insight into one of the 20th century's greatest writers.

The move in Zurich follows similar action at two Tel Aviv banks, which were ordered by an Israeli tribunal to extract Kafka's works from their vaults. [...]
The writing above is an extract from an article published on Monday, the 19th of July, 2010, by the Guardian [link]. More Kafka has been found.


Kafka's diaries [link], which, in my eyes, are just as uncanny as his fiction, include an entry dated Sunday, the 19th of July, 1910, one hundred years earlier, to the day. I have copied the entry, which is pleasingly to the point, so to speak, and a small part of the passage that follows directly afterward. 
Sunday, 19 July, slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.


When I think about it, I must say that my education has done me great harm in some respects. I was not, as a matter of fact, educated in any out-of-the-way place, in a ruin, say, in the mountains - something against which in fact I could not have brought myself to say a word of reproach. In spite of the risk of all my former teachers not understanding this, I should prefer most of all to have been such a little dweller in the ruins, burnt by the sun which would have shone for me there on the tepid ivy between the remains on every side; even though I might have been weak at first under the pressure of my good qualities, which would have grown tall in me with the might of weeds. [...]
Needless to say, Kafka's vision of himself, as represented in this small fragment of his private thoughts, is as far removed, from the world of Zurich safety deposit boxes and Tel Aviv tribunals, as seems humanly possible.

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