Franz Kafka

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The Major 20th-Century Writer
D E C E M B E R  0 8

3 July 1883 3 June 1924

    'Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty.
    Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.'

    - Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka was born July 3, 1883, into a middle class Prague Jewish family. His father was the Galanteriewaren merchant Hermann Kafka (1852-1931) and his mother was Julie Kafka, ne Lwy (1856-1934). From 1889 to 1893, Franz Kafka attended the Deutsche Knabenschule at Fleischmarkt in Prague and finished his Abitur in 1901. He went on to study law, and obtained his law degree in 1906, then worked for an insurance agency. He began writing on the side. In 1917 he began to suffer from tuberculosis, which would require frequent convalescence during which he was supported by his family.

Kafka's relationship with his domineering father is an important theme in his writing. In 1923 he briefly moved to Berlin in the hope of distancing himself from his family's influence to concentrate on his writing. His tuberculosis worsened; he returned to Prague, then went to a sanatorium near Vienna for treatment, where he died on June 3, 1924. His body was brought back to Prague where he was buried June 11, 1924 in the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague-Zizkov.

Franz Kafka

Kafka published only a few short stories during his lifetime, a small part of his work, and consequently his writing attracted little attention until after his death. Before dying, he instructed his friend and literary executor Max Brod, to destroy all of his manuscripts and ensure that they never saw the light of day. However, Brod did not follow Kafka's instructions and oversaw the publication of most of his work, which soon began to attract attention and critical regard.

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