- Series: New Directions Paperbook (Book 1217)
- Paperback: 228 pages
- Publisher: New Directions; 2 edition (January 26, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081121950X
- ISBN-13: 978-0811219501
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #351,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Conversations with Kafka (Second Edition) (New Directions Paperbook) 2nd Edition
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Stunning. --Leonard Michaels
Stunning. --Leonard Michaels"
This remarkable book, itself the result of a miraculous discovery of material believed lost, is one of the most exciting works fiction, nonfiction, poetry I remember having read. --Joyce Carol Oates"
Kafka is for me one of the last, and therefore perhaps one of the greatest, because closest to us, of mankind s religious and ethical teachers. --Gustav Janouch"
Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
For instance in talking about Poe and his escape into dream , Kafka defends him but warns, " Imagination only served him as a crutch.He wrote tales of mystery to make himself at home in the world. That's perfectly natural. Imagination has fewer pitfalls than Reality."
Or in another instance when Janouch and him meet Kafka's father and the father treats him like a schoolboy and sends him off to home. Kafka defends his father to Janouch with the words, " Love often takes the form of violence."
Or in another instance when they are talking of youth and aging, Kafka says one- dimensionally and definitely. " Youth is happy because it has the ability to see Beauty"
This work is full of such gems , bits of Kafka's talk which we the readers who for one reason or another consider ourselves ' admirers ' of take pleasure in adding to the bits of knowledge we have about him. And this almost as if by knowing a bit more about him when we might somehow rescue him and provide him a bit longer and better life than the one he actually had.
For he , the jackdaw ( He in the book by the way talks about the name 'Kafka ' which means ' jackdaw'and relates himself to this not particularly attractive and solitary bird)has given his readers so so much in literature that we would in some way repay him for his gift.
Jannouch's book may not be completely accurate and authentic. But it is a real contribution to our knowledge of Kafka. It gives us a bit more story, anecdote and statement to add to the legend. He is to be commended for this.
Kafka is a hard man to know, let alone to like, through his fiction. One feels respect, admiration, awe ... but perhaps not affection or warmth. This book, compiled by a youthful acquaintance from his memories of chats with Kafka, provides a wonderfully human, if dubiously accurate (how could he remember all these lengthy quotations?), image of the man.
At times he seems pragmatically direct, even patronising to his listener: "There is too much noise in your poems; it is a by-product of youth, which indicates an excess of vitality. So that the noise is itself beautiful, though it has nothing in common with art. On the contrary! The noise mars the expression...." Sometimes he can be sardonic, as when he refers to newspapers as the vice of civilization -- they offer the events of the world with no meaning, a "heap of earth and sand" -- and remarks, "It's like smoking; one has to pay the printer the price of poisoning oneself." (Good thing he didn't live to see TV!)
More often, Kafka comes across as some sort of Zen master: "Just be quiet and patient. Let evil and unpleasantness pass quietly over you. Do not try to avoid them. On the contrary, observe them carefully. Let active understanding take the place of reflex irritation, and you will grow out of your trouble. Men can achieve greatness only by surmounting their own littleness."
Janouch relates a story from his father that Kafka once paid a powerful lawyer-friend to help out an injured laborer with his application for a disability pension, get his rightful compensation, and beat Kafka's employer, the Accident Insurance Institution.
Give this book five stars for interest and readability, three stars for shaky accuracy, and average at four.