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Kafka: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – September 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Very Short Introductions
  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192804553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192804556
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.5 x 4.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,027,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Wonderful...Wagenbach is the doyen of Kafka scholars, and this is easily the best guide to the life and work: succinct, handsomely produced, and endlessly informative. (Eric Ormsby New York Sun 2004-06-30) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author


Ritchie Robertson is a Professor of German at Oxford University and a Fellow of St John's College.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Erica Bell on September 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. MOZEE-BAUM on February 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
Almost all of the Very Short Introductions from Oxford University press do at least a decent job of introducing their subject, and most of them are accessible enough that newcomers can gain an appreciation of the topic without too much work.

This volume on the iconoclast writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924) is no different. Robertson gives an overview of Kafka's life, and goes on to explore specific themes important in Kafka's writing - with special emphasis given to "bodies" (as in physical bodies) and "institutions". A special exploration of Kafka's religious thought is also quite interesting.

Cosntant reference is made to the plots of Kafka's novels and many of his short stories, and excerpts from journals and letters also appear throughout.

However, there is a certen lack of coherent vision or high-level organization in this book; Robertson covers a great deal, but it seems as if the book could have used a bit more editing and re-organization - a bit more fluidity in the narrative and clarity in the layout - to make it great instead of merely good.

Despite this, I recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was very informative in terms of Kafka's family life. The descriptions of the father and of Kafka's "lovers" were excellent. I had to do a project in which I analyzed the factors behind a writer's style; this book saved my grade.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this for a research paper on Kafka. I realize that a person could devote her life to reading what other people have written on the very little bit that Kafka published in his lifetime. This book was a pleasure to read and helped me decide what other avenues of research I'd pursue.
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