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Franz Kafka

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ENTERTAINMENT
July 3, 2013 | By Alexander Nazaryan
If Wednesday's Google Doodle looks a little buggy, if you will, that's because it's meant to celebrate Franz Kafka, the “Metamorphosis” author who would have turned 130 today. Born on July 3, 1883, in Prague, Kafka spent much of his life as a law clerk in that city. He died in 1924 a virtual unknown -- he even told his friend Max Brod to destroy his unpublished novels, which included “The Trial” and “The Castle.” Luckily, Brod failed to comply with his requests. The Google Doodle alludes to the famous opening of “ The Metamorphosis ,” which reads: “One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.” With his ineffable sense of the tragic and absurd, Kafka would have likely been skeptical of the Internet, a tool meant to foster human proximity that has most of us spending days in front of a screen.
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ENTERTAINMENT
November 13, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Very few writers lend themselves to being covered ... in the pop music sense of the word. The idea seems almost contradictory: How, after all, are we to rework a poem or a story, give it an interpretive spin? And yet, there is always Franz Kafka , whose writing continues to provide not just inspiration but also source material for a wide array of work. This week, I've encountered two such projects: David Zain Mairowitz and Jaromir 99's graphic novel of “The Castle” (SelfMadeHero: 144 pp., $19.95 paper)
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NEWS
July 6, 1987 | STANLEY MEISLER, Times Staff Writer
Franz Kafka, a 20th-Century writer of such force and influence that the word Kafka-esque has entered our language to describe a mood of shadows and anguish, was born in Prague in 1883 and lived all but a few months of his short life there. Czechoslovakia has produced no more important writer. Yet he is a writer without much honor in his homeland.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 3, 2013 | By Alexander Nazaryan
If Wednesday's Google Doodle looks a little buggy, if you will, that's because it's meant to celebrate Franz Kafka, the “Metamorphosis” author who would have turned 130 today. Born on July 3, 1883, in Prague, Kafka spent much of his life as a law clerk in that city. He died in 1924 a virtual unknown -- he even told his friend Max Brod to destroy his unpublished novels, which included “The Trial” and “The Castle.” Luckily, Brod failed to comply with his requests. The Google Doodle alludes to the famous opening of “ The Metamorphosis ,” which reads: “One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.” With his ineffable sense of the tragic and absurd, Kafka would have likely been skeptical of the Internet, a tool meant to foster human proximity that has most of us spending days in front of a screen.
BOOKS
January 28, 1996 | Mark Harman, Mark Harman recently completed a translation of Kafka's "The Castle" based on the new critical edition
Why are we so obsessed with Franz Kafka? Some critics argue that his intellectual concerns make him the most representative writer of the 20th century. Yet his enduring appeal surely lies also in the visceral quality of his writing. Kafka's textual conundrums are always rooted in the most private anguish, in the need, as he himself once put it, to convey something incommunicable, "which I have in my bones and can only be experienced in these bones."
ENTERTAINMENT
March 1, 1987
Newsday reports that the royalties department of Random House recently sent a letter to a London publisher that said, in part: "Dear Author: Our records indicate we are missing your Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. In order to avoid penalties imposed by the IRS. . . ." The letter was addressed to Franz Kafka. Random House called it "a computer mistake."
ENTERTAINMENT
December 15, 1991
In his article on Jeremy Irons and the film "Kafka" ("Eyeing His Options," Dec. 1), Sean Mitchell describes Franz Kafka as a "tormented Austrian author." I hope Irons doesn't play Kafka with a Claus von Bulow accent, because Kafka, in fact, was born and lived virtually his entire life in my native country, Czechoslovakia, a small country near, but not, Austria. OLGA HORAK Sun Valley
ENTERTAINMENT
May 9, 1997 | JANA J. MONJI
Franz Kafka never completed his novel "The Trial," and although he requested that it be burned after his death, the novel was posthumously published. Kafka might have torched it himself if he were alive to see this Company of Angels adaptation--a tiresome two-hour travesty. Kafka's antihero, Joseph K. (Ed Trotta), is a milquetoast everyman who finds himself arrested and on trial for a crime that is never revealed to him.
BOOKS
December 22, 1991
Lest readers fall prey to either the "Intentional Fallacy" and assign authorial intent where there was none, or to mere confusion arising from The Times staff's misleading headline, "He Dreamed He Was a Cockroach," which appeared above D. M. Thomas' review of Frederick Karl's "Franz Kafka: Representative Man" (Nov. 17), it is only fair to set the record straight. It was Kafka's short-story character, Gregor Samsa, in "The Metamorphosis" and not Kafka the author who awoke to find himself transformed into a giant insect.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 28, 2008 | David L. Ulin, Ulin is book editor of The Times.
It's always tricky when an author's name becomes an adjective. Orwellian, Machiavellian, Faulknerian -- these designations make it hard to see a writer on his or her own terms. This is perhaps most true of Franz Kafka, whose sobriquet, Kafkaesque, has become a catchall for the weird and inexplicable. Yet 84 years after his death of tuberculosis at age 40, Kafka continues to defy such simplifications, to force us to consider him anew.
BOOKS
November 27, 2005 | Richard Eder, Richard Eder, former book critic for The Times, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1987.
WHEN Franz Kafka's "The Trial" appeared posthumously in the 1920s, the German satirist and critic Kurt Tucholsky remarked that most books let a reader know what he is dealing with early on, but "[h]ere you know nothing, you grope in the dark. What is this? Who is that?" In the course of Reiner Stach's "Kafka: The Decisive Years" -- at almost 600 pages it is the first volume of what clearly will be a massive trilogy -- readers may find themselves in a similar perplexity.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 25, 2005 | David C. Nichols;Rob Kendt
One wonders how Franz Kafka, so famously shaken by the 20th century rift between bureaucracy and individuality that his last wish was for his unpublished writings to be burned, would deal with the post-millennial condition. That notion drives "Kafka Thing" at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble. This ambient sampler of short works by the oracle of alienation aims to relocate Kafka's voice through determined deconstruction.
BOOKS
January 16, 2005 | Melvin Jules Bukiet, Melvin Jules Bukiet is the author, most recently, of the story collection "A Faker's Dozen" and teaches literature at Sarah Lawrence College.
Since his death from tuberculosis at 40 in 1924, Franz Kafka has become a human Rorschach blot. Critics have read him as everything from the exemplar of an array of neuroses to the precursor of millions of victims of modern totalitarianism. Likewise, writers of fiction have found Kafka irresistible. An anthology's worth of novelists, including Philip Roth, Nadine Gordimer, Guy Davenport and Jonathan Lethem, have used the sage of Prague as a jumping-off point for stories.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 13, 2002 | Carmela Ciuraru, Special to The Times
In the preface to his latest book, "The Air Show at Brescia, 1909," author Peter Demetz states matter-of-factly, "I think of the present volume as an 'entertainment,' to borrow Graham Greene's term, not as a scholarly monograph, which I gladly leave to somebody else." Undoubtedly Demetz -- professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at Yale University -- could have produced that scholarly text himself.
BOOKS
June 9, 2002 | THOMAS McGONIGLE, Thomas McGonigle is the author of "The Corpse Dream of N. Petkov" and "Going to Patchogue."
Christians and Jews have fantasies about each other. Though the fantasies (or assumptions, you might say) that Christians have about Jews have been much studied because of their often dire and deadly consequences, Jewish fantasies about Christians are less well-studied, though they weave through the novels and stories of such writers as Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud and through the films of Woody Allen.
NEWS
December 26, 1987 | Associated Press
A cultural weekly has printed an article on author Franz Kafka, whose works are highly acclaimed in the West but have been disparaged and barely acknowledged in his native Prague. The periodical Tvorba opened its 1 1/2-page article on Kafka's last completed novel, "The Castle," with a plea to reassess long-ignored Czechoslovak and foreign literature.
NEWS
June 19, 1987 | United Press International
Austrian-Czech novelist Franz Kafka's letters to his fiancee, Felice Bauer, were sold at Sotheby's gallery Thursday for $605,000, a record price for a literary manuscript sold at public auction. The letters, dated 1912 to 1917, were sold to a telephone bidder, identified by the gallery only as a European private collector. The previous auction record for a manuscript was $412,500 for a notebook of Irish poet William Butler Yeats when it was sold in London in 1985, a gallery official said.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 19, 1999 | T.H. McCULLOH, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The theme that connects most of Franz Kafka's work is man as prisoner, either of himself or of society. Two world-premiere plays at Hunger Artists Theatre are "inspired" by Kafka stories: The first presents a sensitive, intelligent man as prisoner of his own genealogy, the second a man in the chains of a system that insists on dictating his future. Both, written by members of the Hunger Artists group, are inventive and diverting and imaginatively staged.
BOOKS
June 7, 1998 | AHARON APPELFELD, Aharon Appelfeld is the author, most recently, of "The Iron Tracks."
A new translation of Kafka is always an event. No author of the 20th century has had such an extensive and profound influence. He changed literary thought, laid bare the interior of the soul that had lain in darkness for generations, and surprisingly, he showed that modern man's longings for the metaphysical had not faded, even in a period when it appeared that religious faith had died out. Kafka's name will always be connected with that of his friend Max Brod.
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