Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 27

Franz Kafka - Life, Literary work, Kafka in media, Bibliography, Trivia, Online texts

Novelist, born in Prague, Czech Republic, of German Jewish parents. He studied law, became an official in an insurance company (1907–23), moved to Berlin, but soon after succumbed to tuberculosis. His short stories and essays, such as Die Verwandlung (1915, The Metamorphosis), appeared in his lifetime, but his three unfinished novels were published posthumously (against his wishes) by his friend Max Brod: Der Prozess (1925, The Trial), Das Schloss (1926, The Castle), and Amerika (1927). He has influenced many authors with his vision of society (often called ‘Kafkaesque’) as a pointless, schizophrenically rational organization, with tortuous bureaucratic and totalitarian procedures, psychological labyrinths, and masochistic fantasies, into which the bewildered individual has strayed.

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