Kafka's Last Trial

Kafka's Last Trial

The Case of A Literary Legacy

Book - 2018 | First edition.
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"The extraordinary story of the international struggle to preserve Franz Kafka's literary legacy ... begins with Kafka's last instruction to his closest friend, Max Brod: to destroy all his remaining papers upon his death. But when the moment arrived in 1924, Brod could not bring himself to burn the unpublished works of the man he considered a literary genius--even a saint. Instead, Brod devoted his life to championing Kafka's writing, rescuing his legacy from obscurity and physical destruction. The story of Kafka's posthumous life is itself Kafkaesque. By the time of Brod's own death in Tel Aviv in 1968, Kafka's major works had been published, transforming the once little-known writer into a pillar of literary modernism. Yet Brod left a wealth of still-unpublished papers to his secretary, who sold some, held on to the rest, and then passed the bulk of them on to her daughters, who in turn refused to release them. An international legal battle erupted to determine which country could claim ownership of Kafka's work: Israel, where Kafka dreamed of living but never entered, or Germany, where Kafka's three sisters perished in the Holocaust? Benjamin Balint offers a gripping account of the controversial trial in Israeli courts--brimming with dilemmas legal, ethical, and political--that determined the fate of Kafka's manuscripts. Deeply informed, with sharply drawn portraits and a remarkable ability to evoke a time and place, [this book] is at once a brilliant biographical portrait of a literary genius, and the story of two countries whose national obsessions with overcoming the traumas of the past came to a head in a hotly contested trial for the right to claim the literary legacy of one of our modern masters."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781324001317
Branch Call Number: 343.5694 BALINT
Characteristics: 279 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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May 08, 2019

This is more a preliminary biography of Max Brod than anything Kafka. Brod wrote fiction, then non-fiction at a moderately quick journalistic pace and included a castle-type early novel that Kafka must have read. Brod must have realized that Kafka had a passive masochistic side to ask Brod to exterminate his manuscripts. This was not done!


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