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Diaries, 1910-1923 (The Schocken Kafka Library) Paperback – October 30, 1988
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“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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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 ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In his diaries we get to see the contrast between his iconic stories and the life and feelings of the actual man. Read morePublished 3 months ago by thirdtwin
Absolutely magnificent -- paper quality is striking, I adored it so very much. The packaging was great as well. Thank you thank youPublished on May 4, 2014 by Mary Kamarianaki.
I'm a huge fan of Kafka, but this one was too much of a challenge. I made it about 3/4 through before I just had to throw in the towel. Read morePublished on September 19, 2013 by D. J. Roberts
I've loved Kafka's work forever so reading the diaries was interesting. Intense stuff to be taken in smallish doses. Recommended.Published on December 3, 2012 by ZB
Yes, yes, I know it's odd to describe Kafka's writing as comic, but he really was one of the funniest writers of the Twentieth Century. Read morePublished on October 7, 2007 by Sirin
Franz Kafka's 1910-23 diary entries are essential reading for anyone who seeks a better understanding of the author's literary world. Read morePublished on September 22, 2006 by Scott T. Rivers
The Diares of Franz Kafka reveal him to not just be the disturbing and clever author, but a genuine philosopher in his own right. Read morePublished on July 23, 2005 by Damien Cross
Kafka was the kind of unique genius who could not help expressing that genius in every line he wrote. Read morePublished on October 10, 2004 by Shalom Freedman