Kafka's notorious self-loathing is, as he perceives it, in large measure caused by writing: by failing to write, by not writing well enough, by the damage that trying and failing to write causes. And that condition of acute dissatisfaction with himself, largely caused by writing, then often becomes the stuff of the writing itself.
For long bursts of his intensively creative life, from the autumn of 1912 until his death less that twelve years later, Kafka appears to have written every single day. His last piece of writing is a letter- to his parents on the subject of his various ailments- which he composed less than twenty-four hours before his death.
In 1902 Kafka met Max Brod who would become his translator, supporter and most intimate friend. Kafka entered the German University in Prague in 1901 to study German literature and law, receiving his doctorate in 1906. Kafka was to lead a relatively inauspicious life, an exemplary employee with the Worker's Accident Insurance Institute in Prague from 1907 to 1922.
Just before his death in a Vienna sanatorium, the ailing writer entrusted Brod with his collection of unpublished handwritten documents, famously insisting that all the papers "should be burned unread and without remnant" after his death.
Yet Brod, who like Kafka was a member of Prague's German-speaking Jewish community, blatantly ignored his friend's last wishes and chose to publish several key works including The Trial, The Metamorphosis and The Castle, quickly securing Kafka a posthumous place among Europe's literary giants.
Franz Kafka was born in Prague, July 3, 1883, the son of Hermann and Julie Kafka. The oldest, he had three surviving younger sisters. Valli, Elli, and Ottla. His father was a self-made middle class Jewish merchant, who raised his children in the hope of assimilating them into the mainstream society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Franz Kafka was one of the most prominent writers to come out of the late nineteenth and early twentieth. His name and style of writing has lent itself to the word Kafkaesque, which signifies the oppressive, bizarre, illogical and nightmarish qualities of his literary production.
In 1924, Kafka went to the Kierling Sanatorium near Vienna where he died. Posthumously much of Kafka’s work is viewed as being autobiographically. Stories like A Hunger Artist in which a professional faster eventually kills himself through practicing his art is seen to have particular significance in the context of Kafka’s exhausting schedule and devotion to his craft.
Kafka's oeuvre is often filled with black humour in the style of parable, meditations, poetic fragments, and sketches. Though his works are often open to multiple interpretations, causing difficulty categorising his work in any single genre, existentialism and modernism are among them.
Kafka has become an indelible part of our culture. His insecurities are what self-help books have been trying to brush beneath the carpet. His sense of humor shows us how comically mistaken we are. His spiritual quest is ours. The problems he faced in his life and illustrated in his work are the same that we must face today.