Tag Archives: Kafka

Literary roundup: Kafka’s trial’s end, new Czech translations and velvet divorcees

The trial over the fate of the Kafka manuscripts left in Max Brod’s possession, that he bequeathed to his secretary Esther Hoffe, has finally reached a settlement. The judge ruled that the manuscripts should go to Israel’s National Library, though of course Hoffe’s surviving daughter will appeal until the end of her own life, after […]

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Literary roundup: Misunderstanding Kafka and a Czech émigré novel

Apparently it isn’t only filmmakers who misunderstand Kafka. In the Times Literary Supplement Gabriel Josipovici writes an article covering a number of quite varied books about or related to Kafka titled “Why we don’t understand Kafka” that brings a demanding yet even-handed take on the ultimate resistance to interpretation that Kafka’s writing contains. In a […]

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The futility of filming Kafka

Why, oh why, do filmmakers keep trying to adapt the work of Kafka? Do they see the pitiful results and want to strike back in the writer’s honor, to make a film worthy of one of literature’s great masters? I don’t think so. So why spend the time and money in such a futile pursuit? […]

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Kafka’s lonely planet

The BBC and Lonely Planet have posted a “Mini guide to Kafka’s Prague,” which begins with the claim that though Kafka never mentions Prague in his fiction “his tales of totalitarian bureaucracy were greatly influenced by the city.” They then proceed to demonstrate this influence by listing some hotels and telling you about the Kafka […]

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Greetings from Gloomy Pre-Fascist Prague

In the latest issue of The Literary Review Alex Stein has an interview with Egyptian poet Yahia Lababidi that orbits around the figures of Georges Bataille, Baudelaire and Kafka. The first notable thing about this piece is that Stein has opted to rewrite some of Lababidi’s words to, as he states at the outset, “make […]

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Masters of the Borderland in Prague

You can never really say too much about Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz. Not that there isn’t a lot of pure BS and cliché written about Kafka by people who don’t have a clue why he is considered such an important writer – in fact, maybe that’s one more reason why an exhibition putting Kafka […]

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What the Emperor Cannot Do: Tales and Legends of the Orient by Vlas Doroshevich

Russian writer and journalist Vlas Doroshevich is not the only writer of parablelike stories exploring issues of justice and power who died in the 1920’s and whose work seems to illuminate the much darker period of history that followed his death, when the liquid that smoothed the grinding wheels of bureaucracy was revealed to be […]

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Books picked right off the trees

It is a cliché that can be applied to almost anything – “You don’t know what you’re missing.” And in all likelihood you really don’t know. Not anymore though, at least as it relates to Czech books. The linguistic iron curtain is being lifted. The Czech Literature Portal will have regular English-language updates on  recently […]

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Performing Kafka’s Year in Berlin

A Greek theater company’s production depicting Kafka’s year in Berlin reflects back on a time of financial collapse and growing menace that is frighteningly reminiscent of Europe today. It begins with a society rocked by financial collapse. Anger spills out onto the streets, the extreme left brandishing the hammer and sickle, the resurgent right raging […]

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Best European Fiction 2012 – Part I – the dead white noise of space

I should admit from the outset that I haven’t always liked the short story form. When I first began reading with any dedication I had the impression that novels conjured entire worlds while short stories were content with slices of life. What’s more, the slice-of-life sensibility appeals so directly to verisimilitude that a story about […]

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