Introducing Kafka

biography by David Zane Mairowitz, R. Crumb


"What do I have in common with the Jews? I don't even have anything in common with myself". Nothing could better express the essence of Franz Kafka, a man described by his friends as living behind a "glass wall". Kafka wrote in the tradition of the great Yiddish storytellers, whose stock-in-trade was bizarre fantasy, tainted with hilarity and self-abasement. What he brought to this tradition was an almost unbearably expanded consciousness. Alienated from his roots, his family, his surroundings and primarily from his own body, Kafka created a unique literary language in which to hide away, transforming himself into a cockroach, an ape, a dog, a mole or a circus artiste who starves himself to death in front of admiring crowds.

First Published


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