Prague in the 1920s
Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer based in Prague, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work fuses elements of realism and the fantastic. It typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers. It has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include the short story ‘The Metamorphosis’ and novels The Trial and The Castle. The term Kafkaesque has entered English to describe absurd situations, like those depicted in his writing.
The editor is grateful to Christina Hennemann for bringing to his attention the following two poems. They were included in a letter by Kafka dated November 9, 1903, in which, at the age of twenty, he writes to his friend from school…
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