Tuesday, March 18, 2014

(Abridged) Biography of Franz Kafka

"So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being." ~Franz Kafka
 As a brief prelude to the actual biography of a very interesting individual, I would like to present this quote as proof of how wonderful he is. I agree with this quote so very much. Food is basically one of my favorite things in the world. I know it has a deeper meaning beyond some middle-class white girl enjoying eating things, but...seeing as that's what I am that is how I plan on interpreting this quote. Anyway. I really like him so far, but that might change as I find out more about him. So...on to actual informative information!

Kafka was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Germany. His two brothers died before he was six, but he had three sisters. Their names were Gabriele, Valerie, and Ottilie. His parents were not often home. His first language was German, but he was fluent in Czech as well. He was educated at an all-boys elementary school, and his Jewish education did not extend beyond his bar mitzvah at thirteen and going to synagogue occasionally. He went to university and got his degree as a Doctor of Law.

In his adult life, Kafka was engaged twice to a woman named Felice Bauer, but their relationship ended in 1917. Also in 1917, he got tuberculosis, so he was having many problems with his health and relied upon his family to support him. He developed a relationship with Milena Jesenská, and then he moved to Berlin to get away from his family's influence and focus on his writing. There, he lived with Dora Diaman, who became his lover as well. She was also Jewish. Kafka suffered from clinical depression and social anxiety, but that didn't stop him from being able to get a job at a big Italian insurance company.

Kafka's influence was widespread. He wrote Metamorphosis, which is still being read and analyzed today as an accurate representation of today's society. He was against his father's materialism, and that influenced his books as a portrayal of how he felt. Materialism is still a big issue we face in the world today. His works were written decades ahead of their time and address issues that are more prevalent in the worlds of today than ever. 

On June 3, 1924, Franz Kafka died due to his affliction of tuberculosis. He was buried with his parents in a Jewish cemetery in Prague. There was nothing written on his tombstone, but Milena Jesenská wrote about him, "He wrote the most significant works of modern German literature, which reflect the irony and prophetic vision of a man condemned to see the world with such blinding clarity that he found it unbearable and went to his death." That is about the best sendoff he could have received, unless he had written it himself.

"Franz Kafka." - Biography and Works. Search Texts, Read Online. Discuss. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.
"Franz Kafka Quotes." BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.
"Kafka's Life (1883-1924)." The Kafka Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.