Kafka and The Trial… on trial

“In 1988, Hoffe made headlines by auctioning the manuscript of “The Trial” for nearly $2 million; it ended up at the German Literature Archive. Philip Roth characterized this outcome as “yet another lurid Kafkaesque irony” that was being “perpetrated on 20th-century Western culture,” observing not only that Kafka was not German but also that his three sisters perished in Nazi death camps.”


“In his biography of Kafka, Ernst Pawel recounts how Brod, having been given a diagnosis at age 4 of a life-threatening spinal curvature, was sent to a miracle healer in the Black Forest, “a shoemaker by trade, who built him a monstrous harness into which he was strapped day and night.” Brod spent an entire year in the care of this shoemaker, emerging with a permanent hunchbacklike deformity, which did not impede him in a lifelong series of overlapping relationships with attractive blondes.”

“He practiced vegetarianism, “Fletcherizing” (a system of chewing each bite for several minutes), “Müllerizing” (an exercise regimen) and various natural healing programs. He worried about dandruff and constipation to an extent that occasionally exasperated even Brod (“for instance, in Lugano, when he refused to take any laxative . . . but ruined the days for me with his moanings”). 

“The couple lived for some months in a rental room in Berlin but moved in 1924 to a sanitarium in the Austrian town of Kierling, where Kafka, unable to eat, drink or speak, edited the proofs of his story “The Hunger Artist” and eventually died in Dora’s arms, having published, in his lifetime, fewer than 450 pages.”

I read this article in the Magazine when it came out and am enjoying it again. Kafka died young and his desire to have everything burned (most of his now published work) was ignored. Read about it here. Also, learn some ridiculous things about the guy.

– Andrew


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