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Acclaimed Biographer Discusses Kafka’s Life And Work

Acclaimed Biographer Discusses Kafka’s Life And Work
Acclaimed Biographer Discusses Kafka’s Life And Work GUEST: Reiner Stach, author, "Kafka: The Early Years" Kathi Diamant , founder/director, Kafka Project at SDSU

By now the election of Donald Trump has been called many things by many people. Several Internet articles have specifically called it a nightmare. Why is it in the 21st century people continued to go back to the unique vision of a 20th century writer Franz Kafka to describe situations that they find indescribable. 1% is a scholar on the works of Franz Kafka, Kathi Diamant is in Senegal to speak about the third volume of his biography and it is called afka: The Early Years Also here is Kathy diamond director of the project and author of the book last love the mystery. Thank you. When you hear something being called afka: The Early Years what are they trying to say? Two beared talking about observe situations where they have a lot of information about details but no information about the meaning of the situation. This is what happened quite often in the writings. Is not a correct interpretation quick I think so. It is a term, which is walled known worldwide. The first two volumes of your biography is covering adulthood but you waited to the last to cover the youth. Why is that quick We had a lot of problems with the main sources this mean his diaries and letters because we have only a few dozens of letters about his early years. We have a lot of letters about his later years when he had correspondences, but I try to maintain a rather vividly kind of narrative with many details and colorful so we need more details and we still waited or still are waiting for some more information from the estate. It was not accessible at the time so we decided to wait. And that is his childhood friend. Exactly. Franz Kafka is the most misunderstood literary figures. What discoveries did you make in your research quick First of all there are -- this is absolutely not true. He was very interested for example in new technology developments, new technologies, cars, airplanes, and the cinema. Every week he went to the cinema once or twice at least. So these new developments influences writings also. This is not just something sitting at his writing desk all the time. That's not the image we have of the man. No, it is not. Kathy diamond you leave the project and sending a state can you remind us about the mission behind the project. It is the international search for the missing letters and up to notebooks that were written by him the last year of his life in possession of his last diamond, which were confiscated in Berlin. What if you found so far quick Well, we found several things. We found his hair brush in Israel. We found original letters here in San Diego, which is strange. We found original letters. They were not what we were looking for. The letters have Arty been published, but they are still original letters. Some were sold the auction and some are now in the literature archives. We are still looking for those 35 letters and 20 notebooks. I heard from him today that we are taking steps forward. It is very exciting and what I was told today is that we have reason for optimism. Okay. News from today. It sounds from what you are saying, Kathy, that much of what we have of Franz Kafka is all over the place and it's hard to really pieced together this man's life and what precipitated his great literary works because considering how important a figure is why isn't there a national effort by let's say the Czech Republic or another nation to collect and catalog all of his documents and writings and one place? It is still a very important test I think in the Western world he was the first writer who described modern forms of power very detailed. You can see something happens and nothing is responsible. Something is changing his life dramatically. This is a basic experience in the Western world and we can learn much from his descriptions. Apparently no one is responsible at this point for actually collecting and holding onto all of his writings and all of his documents. You are right. This is the same case in a way. Payment he died 90 years ago and in the 21st century there are a lot of things that he is not experience that we have. Why is his writing still relevant? He had a that she was at the beginning of those new developments in new forms of power. He was one of the first to experience these new forms in his own office and he had the kind of -- he realized that this will be for our future. We were at the beginning of a new development and that is what we experience now. He was right. You finished your three volume biography of him. What is next for you? We prepare a TV series on the basis on this three volumes. In December I will see the first draft for the script and I'm very excited about it. It sounds exciting. Kathy Telus about today's lectures that sending a state quick

Book Events

The Making of a Monumental Biography Tuesday 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Kafka’s Modernity Tuesday 3:30-4:45 p.m.

It has been more than 90 years since the death of Jewish-Czech writer Franz Kafka. He is best known for surrealist tales like the one told in his novella, "The Metamorphosis," about a man who awakes to find himself transformed into an insect.

A new book sheds light on Kafka’s upbringing and early literary career. “Kafka: The Early Years” is the third volume of Dr. Reiner Stach’s acclaimed biography of Kafka.


Reiner will be in San Diego for two lectures at San Diego State University.

Reiner and Kathi Diamant, founder of the Kafka Project at SDSU, join KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday to discuss the challenges in collecting Kafka's writing and how some ended up in San Diego.