Cover image for Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka
Adler, Jeremy D.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 2002.

Physical Description:
ix, 164 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 19 cm.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PT2621.A26 Z567 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
PT2621.A26 Z567 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PT2621.A26 Z567 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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The illustrations in this volume include rarely seen drawings from Kafka's workbooks, images of the Prague environment that inspired his nightmarish works, photos of Kafka with friends and colleagues, and reproductions of letters, manuscripts, and first edition book jackets.

Author Notes

Jeremy Adler is Professor of German at King's College, London. He is a sometime fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin, and a sometime scholar of the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuttel

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The Overlook Press Illustrated Lives series offers three new thumbnail biographies of a triad of twentieth-century writers whose work has fueled the lit-crit industry for nearly a century--F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, and Franz Kafka. These new entries are worthy additions to a valuable series: readable, accurate, and visually effective. But make no mistake: the focus here is almost entirely biographical. Critical discussion of the writers's work is kept to a minimum. What distinguishes these brief biographies is the number and quality of the illustrations. The editors have graced almost every page with telling, sometimes haunting, images of the authors, their friends and family, the places and objects that meant so much to them. Thus we see the house at the corner of Niklassstrasse, in which Kafka wrote both The Trial and The Metamorphosis; we are treated to numerous paintings by Vanessa Bell, Simon Bussy, Duncan Grant, and others, vividly depicting the Bloomsbury group at work and play; and we can trace the rise and fall of Scott and Zelda in pictures as well as words. The writing in each volume is lucid, brisk, and unpretentious--perfect for the casual fan or the student looking for an accessible introduction to the lives of these major figures. Each book closes with useful bibliographies and reasonably thorough "life at a glance" chronologies. --Tryg Thoreson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Biographical Details Love literature but lack leisure? Readers who appreciate the bestselling Penguin Lives series in theory but find the volumes a trifle text-heavy in practice will flock to the new Overlook Illustrated Lives series, in which scholars gloss the lives and times of great 20th-century writers in slim books replete with photographs. Ruth Prigozy's F. Scott Fitzgerald ($19.95 158p ISBN 1-58567-265-3; July), Jeremy Adler's Franz Kafka (164p -267-X) and Mary Ann Caws's Virginia Woolf (136p -264-5) make up the first batch; volumes on Nabokov and Beckett are slated for publication this fall. The reproductions of family portraits, letters, movie posters and paintings are fascinating, and the pared-down bios are clean and highly readable.(July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

These are the first two volumes in Overlook's new "Illustrated Lives" series, which attempts to depict the worlds of various monumental literary figures in a way that allows the reader to connect to them. Photographs and drawings, some never before published, depict the authors at various stages in life and also show us their homes, cities, family, and associates. Each volume also contains an essay written by an established scholar in the field. In addition to having written numerous volumes of poetry and edited the Publications of the English Goethe Society, Adler (King's Coll., London) has published extensively in the areas of German and Czech literature, including biographical and critical works on Kafka. Caws (CUNY) is a prolific author in the areas of modern English and French literature and has written several books and articles on Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group. The well-written volumes provide a good general introduction to these important figures for a novice audience, offering brief biographies and also discussing each author's major themes and styles. Forthcoming volumes will focus on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Vladimir Nabokov, and Samuel Beckett, and if these first two volumes are any indication, the series as a whole belongs in all public and school collections. Paolina Taglienti, Long Island Univ. Lib., Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vii
Prefacep. 3
A Prague Childhoodp. 11
The Artist as a Young Manp. 27
At the Workers' Accident Insurancep. 46
The Making of a Writerp. 55
The Breakthroughp. 69
The Great Warp. 85
The Final Rupturep. 100
The Last Earthly Frontierp. 111
Referencesp. 135
Chronologyp. 147
Bibliographyp. 153
List of Illustrations and Photographic Acknowledgementsp. 159