This is a small but insightful overview of the life and work of Kafka. Robertson provides new insight into aspects of Kafka's life and legend. He presents the interesting idea that Kafka himself had the idea of this legend and consciously worked to cultivate it. In this Kafka is compared to Byron who too in his own way helped create an image of himself which dominated an Age. Robertson analyses the critical relationship of Kafka to his father Hermann. The overwhelming power and physical presence of his father contributed to Kafka's own sense of inadequacy, fear, frustration. " I will tear you apart like a fish" his father said in one notable childhood incident. Robertson who has written on Heine, on Mann and is an expert in German Literature has a deep, intimate knowledge of the Kafka world . The work gives in a short space a clear conception of the writer whose anxieties and ambiguities , whose sense of fear and foreboding , were transformed into a Literature of incredible intensity , horrifying beauty.
Small size, huge resource
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 18 years ago
Who on earth can adequately introduce a writer of Kafka's stature in the few short (and very tiny) pages the "Very Short Introduction" series allows? Only someone like Ritchie Robertson, a man who has thought and written extensively on Kafka, Mann and other German authors. Ritchie is succinct, respectful, loving and clear and (miracle of miracles) manages to combine autobiography, analysis and a helping hand to all those either curious or flummoxed over the enigmatic Kafka. He discusses F.K.'s modernist and uneasy relationship with the body, his representation of modernist thought and philosophy, and much more. He even tackles the Aphorisms, something not many writers, academic or otherwise, are willing to attempt. It's hard to believe that so small a book could cover so many bases so well. There are more thorough bios and analyses out there, but for its size (and cost), this tiny one was a delightful surprise. It's a trustworthy place to start.
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