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Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

*  1883 Prag
† 1924 Kierling bei Wien

Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883. Kafka attended the elementary school there from 1889 until 1893 and attended the secondary school Altstädter Deutsches Gymnasium in the Kinsky Palace in Prague until 1901. For the next five years, he studied German literature and law at the German University in Prague. There Kafka met Max Brod, who would later become his editor of his works. Kafka's early interest in literature and philosophy was experienced between the tensions of a seemingly all powerful father and his Jewish origins. Kafka's first literary work, "Description of a Struggle" ("Beschreibung eines Kampfes"), appeared in the winter of 1904/1905; he destroyed all his earlier literary experiments himself. In 1906 Kafka finished his studies with the title Juris Doctor and did a year long law internship at the Land and Penal Court in Prague and at his uncle's law office. Kafka began work on the novel fragment "Wedding Preparations in the Country" ("Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande") in 1908. The next year, he published eight prose pieces in the journal "Hyperion" and took a position at the Workers' Accident Insurance Institute, where he worked until his retirement in 1922. Kafka began his diary sketches in 1910. Through his friendship with the Yiddish language actor Jizchak Löwy, his interest was awakened to Judaism and Zionism at this time. Kafka began his novel "Amerika" ("The Lost"; "Die Verschollenen") in 1912 and published his first book, "Reflections" ("Betrachtungen"), a collection containing 18 of his prose pieces. At the public reading of his text "The Judgment" ("Das Urteil") in 1912, Kafka established the style of presentation which would later be termed "kafkaesque." He then began his main work "The Trial" ("Der Prozeß"), which, as "The Castle" ("Das Schloß"), would remain a fragment. Carl Sternheim rejected the Fontane Prize in 1914 and instead passed it on to Kafka. That year, Kafka published "The Metamorphosis" ("Die Verwandlung") then continued with "In the Penal Colony" ("In der Strafkolonie"), "Letter to Father" ("Brief an den Vater"), and "A Country Doctor" ("Ein Landarzt"), among other parabolic stories. He began work on his next novel fragment "The Castle" ("Das Schloß") in 1922. The political situation in Berlin and his worsening health forced Kafka to return to Prague in 1924, where he wrote his last work "Josephine the Singer, or The Mouse Folk" ("Josefine, die Sängerin, oder Das Volk der Mäuse"). Franz Kafka died at the Kierling Sanatorium in Vienna in 1924.