“I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.” ~ Franz Kafka, in a letter to his sister Ottla
Kafka died of laryngeal tuberculosis, which made it very difficult for him to eat. He died just a few days short of his 41st birthday. On his death bed, he was proofreading A Hunger Artist about a performer who would fast for days but eventually was ignored by the passing public. His writing legacy continues to live on thanks to his friend Max Brod, as well as the others who saved pieces of his work. Although his death came at a young age, his name is celebrated with the best authors of all time. He is known for his writing style about the absurdity of life in bizarre even nightmarish situations, giving rise to today’s term “Kafkaesque.” The term has been used in the English language for over 50 years and has become a staple ingrained in everyday vocabulary. Today, in Prague’s Jewish Quarter, stands a monument in salute to Kafka. The sculpture shows a suited Kafka on the shoulders of a gigantic headless man – a surreal tribute to the writer. However, his lasting legacy is his words, which continue to challenge readers and bring insight to future generations. No other author of modern times has left such an impact with his name.
Photo: Franz Kafka, last portrait, 1923