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Diaries, 1910-1923 (Schocken Classics Series) Paperback – Deckle Edge, October 30, 1988


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Frequently Bought Together

Diaries, 1910-1923 (Schocken Classics Series) + Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories + The Trial: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text
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Product Details

  • Series: Schocken Classics Series
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken (October 30, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805209069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805209068
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“In Kafka we have before us the modern mind splendidly trained for the great game of pretending that the world it comprehends in sterilized sobriety is the only and ultimate reality there is—yet a mind living in sin with the soul of Abraham. Thus he knows two things at once, and both with equal assurance: that there is no God, and that there must be a God. It is the perspective of the curse: the intellect dreaming of its dream of absolute freedom, and the soul knowing of its terrible bondage.”
—Erich Heller
 
“It is likely that these journals will be regarded as one of [Kafka’s] major literary works; his life and personality were perfectly suited to the diary form, and in these pages he reveals what he customarily hid from the world.”
—The New Yorker

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This book is one that I pick at after I read a particularly nice short story by Kafka.
Eric C. Darsow
Kafka never meant for these diary entries to be published, let alone read by another person.
C. Middleton
More revelatory than any biography, the diaries remain as compelling as his fictional work.
Scott T. Rivers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Sophia Montesquieu on July 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
The diaries reveal that Kafka was not only the one-dimensional character of the disturbed, alienated, and melancholic man that contemporary literary analysis presents him as, but a person with a complexity of feeling, humor, and distinct moments of happiness and joy.

The segment where he vacillates, through an organized list, as to whether he should marry his fiancé or not I found most enjoyable, and it is also fascinating to watch the diaries darken as Kafka ages, and to long for the unfinished fragments of stories and the gaps in narrative as he struggles against tuberculosis.

History claims that he was the prophetic bearer of images of totalitarianism and social suppression, but it is often forgotten that Kafka was also an ordinary man leading a rather ordinary, if not emotionally tempestuous, life.

These diaries are indispensable in understanding the underlying philosophy and thought behind his literary works, and in coming to know more intimately the author who created them, rather than relying upon a preconceived notion of Kafka as an isolated, miserable apparition.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
Kafka left instructions with Max Brod to burn all of these journals. Max, however, believed they were too important to be lost and devoted himself to organizing the diaries for publication.
Kafka made his entries in a manner convenient for himself: starting at the back, writing upside down, changing journals daily. All of this made the task of organizing them very difficult. Max Brod did a tremendous job and only misjudged the placement of a handful of entries.
The diaries themselves contain a lot of things no writer would want seen. They are fragments, drafts, and sketches he worked on during the nights. Most are not very good--as they are. Their value comes in the later, published, incarnations. These writings give us a little insight into the way Franz Kafka worked. Several of the entries are worked and reworked over a period of years. They show subtle shifts in Kafka's insight, perspective, and craftsmanship.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on October 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Franz Kafka's diaries were never meant to be published. Yet his diaries are spread across the internet, the actual published diaries translated into many languages and countless printings. These dairies are very personal, and the gentle Prague Jew would certainly be appalled.

Why do we continue to find these writings so fascinating?

Well, simply, they're terribly honest. Kafka never meant for these diary entries to be published, let alone read by another person. For those interested in the mechanics and soul of writing, Kafka's diaries are a source of true wonder. A confessional of a gentle soul, a man trapped in an insurance job, staying up through the night writing his heart-out, his thoughts, pains and acute observations of a time on the brink of great and terrible change, the death and cruelty of two world wars.

When reading Kafka, there is an overwhelming darkness, loneliness, a strong shadow that continually hovered around him, a "something" he tried to rid himself of through intense self reflection, which the reader of these diaries will discover.

Kafka's life story is, for the most part, a tragedy. A painful experience as one, sometimes, can feel his self consciousness, that subtle pain at the back of the neck, when, you know, you're being stared at...and his continued bad health.

I've attempted to read Kafka's diaries many times, and only now, for some reason, can withstand the pain of his perceptions, his precarious relationship with his father, and the few women he loved and the true love he never married.
Read more ›
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Burke on June 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I Loved reading this book. I hope not to offend others who don't share my opinion in this, but I found the beginning to be a bit slow to get my attention. But as I kept with it, I was completely taken by Kafka, in a much more personal way than I have been in reading his books and short stories. He comes across so sensitive and loveable, even with all his faults. There's a paragraph in there about how he respects the maid [I think] and so when he finds her to ask for his heat to be raised, he doesn't ask her to raise it because she is in the middle of washing a floor and thought she might not want him to see her in such a way. That just made me want to fly back in time and tell him what a sweet, kind man he was, and how he shouldn't have been so hard on himself.
I'm sure that men aren't looking for that in a book, but I'm sure there's something in there for you too!
He just comes across as such a darling...the translation is terrific, and really brings out the beauty of his writing. The beginnings and snippets of the stories are also great; unfortunately you want to know how they end, but you aren't afforded that luxury!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric C. Darsow on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is one that I pick at after I read a particularly nice short story by Kafka. Of course, since these are his diaries, these are not plot driven. But plots are not the only reason one might read a text. These are his raw insights that he never thought would be read by other humans. He had given explicit instructions to his closest friend to have his diaries and several of his unfinished manuscripts destroyed after his death. Now, realistically, if he actually wanted them destroyed, he would have done so himself--so this leaves one to speculate. Regardless, the entries provide a remarkable insight into the mind of a man who lived a very dreary life and experienced mostly angst and sorrow.
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