Kafka′s Library Returns to Prague | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 03.12.2001
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Kafka's Library Returns to Prague

Franz Kafka's personal collection of books goes back to Prague after being in the possession of car giant Porsche.


Franz Kafka

The personal library of Czech author Franz Kafka is to be returned to his home town Prague.

The collection comprises about 1,000 books and other documents. The collection, which includes some of the first editions of his Kafka's works, belonged to German car manufacturer Porsche.

According to Porsche, the papers were bought from an antiquarian who was hoping to donate them to the Franz Kafka Society in the Czech Republic.

Posthumous Fame

Although almost unknown during his lifetime, Kafka has since been recognised as one of the 20th century's most influential writers. He published relatively few of his works while he was alive, and those that appeared were published in small literary journals and in limited publications.

Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883. As the official language was German, he attended German schools and later studied law at the German University in Prague.

After graduating, he worked from 1907 – 1922 for two insurance firms. It was during this time that he dedicated his evenings, and whole nights to writing. As a result, Kafka would return to work thoroughly exhausted. His diaries contain numerous accounts of his sleeplessness and restlessness.

Kafka was extremely critical of his own work. He burned numerous manuscripts and destroyed most of his early writing attempts.

However, a close friend, Max Brod, managed to save many texts. These were then published after Kafka's death.

Kafka's relationship to his father dominates a large part of his writings, such as "The Trial". But he is also famous for his portrayals on isolation and alienation. His best known work is "The Metamorphosis".