Reiner Stach’s Kafka: The Early Years

We end at the beginning. The third and final volume of Reiner Stach’s ambitious biography, Kafka: The Early Years, takes a look at the period between birth and early adulthood, encompassing Kafka’s childhood struggles for recognition within his family, his […]

Reiner Stach’s Kafka: The Years Of Insight

When we last left Kafka, after the first volume of Reiner Stach’s trilogy of biographies, the year was 1915: Europe was in the middle of a catastrophic war; Kafka had already completed two of his major works, “The Metamorphosis” and The […]

Reiner Stach’s Kafka: The Decisive Years

From the time Reiner Stach’s publishers accepted his proposal for a Kafka biography to the time he delivered his manuscript for editing, a decade elapsed, and the original one-volume work ballooned into a trilogy. Kafka: The Decisive Years, published in German […]

Franz Kafka’s The Castle

The Castle is one of Kafka’s three unfinished novels and, together with The Trial and “The Metamorphosis,” widely regarded as his masterwork. The plot, in brief: a man named K., a land surveyor by trade, is called into a village at the behest […]

Franz Kafka’s The Trial

George Steiner, at 83 still one of our best literary critics, articulates my primary difficulty in writing this post in the very first sentence of his Introduction: “The thought that there is anything fresh to be said of Franz Kafka’s The […]

Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Few 20th century writers are as unavoidable and, perhaps, as influential, as Franz Kafka. Born in Prague to a German-speaking Jewish family, Kafka published precious little in his lifetime. Posterity owes a great debt to his friend, Max Brod, who […]