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Franz Kafka’s Papers and Drawings to Go Under the Microscope
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Monday, March 20, 2023
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Franz Kafka is widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th century literature.

The Bohemian writer, who grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family in Prague, penned such stories as “The Metamorphosis,” about a man who awakes one morning to find himself transformed into a gigantic insect.

“The Trial” follows the plight of a man whose 30th birthday is marked by a knock on the door from two sinister agents there to arrest him for unidentified crimes, which he then must defend himself against. And “The Castle” is a haunting tale of a man’s relentless struggle with an unresponsive bureaucracy.

Kafka poured himself into his writing while making a living in an insurance agency. But he was plagued with doubt about his work, even though his handwritten manuscript of “The Trial” would one day sell posthumously for nearly $2 million.

After his death from tuberculosis at age 41, his friend Max Brod went against his wishes and published   unfinished manuscripts, such as “The Trial.” And, eventually, Kafka became a household name.

Eventually, the National Library of Israel obtained many of Kafka’s original manuscripts, letters and even drawings. Dr. Stefan Litt, the humanities curator of that library, will discuss why the 200 Kafka letters and other papers in the library’s possession are so important at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21, at Ketchum’s Community Library.

The event is free but  those wishing to attend in person should RSVP at https://thecommunitylibrary.libcal.com/event/10081394. The program also will be livestreamed and available to view later at https://vimeo.com/event/3159962.

The program is being offered in partnership with the Wood River Jewish Community.

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