Today, Franz Kafka is remembered as a troubled young writer who had a multifaceted personality. He was often troubled by feelings of inadequacy, problems with women, and sometimes lacked confidence in his own abilities. His life was an interesting one, even though it was cut short. Kafka died at the age of 40.
Franz Kafka wanted his unfinished work and papers burned after his death.
That’s right, he wrote into his will that his executor and friend, Max Brod, was to burn everything that he’d left unfinished after he passed away. Luckily for us, Brod chose to disobey this directive and instead went ahead and published several unfinished stories. These include The Trial.
Gregor Samsa’s apartment had the same layout as Franz Kafka’s.
For those who are familiar with the story of Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis, this is a strange and captivating fact. It’s quite interesting to consider Gregor’s rooms, the kitchen, and the rooms in which the lodgers stayed and instead place Kafka within them.
He has an adjective named after him–Kafkaesque.
Today, the word Kafkaesque is evoked to mean anything that is nightmarish and psychologically disturbing. This is in honour of the terrible images that Kafka crafted in his stories and novels.
He worked as an insurance clerk.
After graduating from law school, Kafka was hired at two different insurance companies. Due to his employment at the latter, he avoided the draft and did not have to fight in World War I (even though he wanted to). His job was deemed essential.
He fantasized about striking it rich with his friend Max Brod.
Over the course of their friendship, Kafka and Brod considered various avenues through which they might increase their wealth. One of these include writing travel guides for those who wanted to visit Europe on a budget.
Franz Kafka never lied.
According to his close friend Max Brod the enigmatic Franz Kafka could never tell a lie. He was unfailingly truthful, sometimes to a fault. Brod stated that Kafka believed in “absolute truthfulness”.
He was engaged twice to the same woman.
Kafka fell hard to Felice Bauer. The two met in 1912 when he was visiting Max Brod and his wife. Brod’s sister was married to a cousin of Felice’s and when Kafka met her he immediately has “an unshakeable opinion” of her “strong chin,” “Almost broken nose,” “Bare throat,” and “unattractive hair”. He began sending her daily letters, many of which were published after his death.
Franz Kafka may not have lied, but he did cheat.
It is known that in his youth Kafka cheated on his high school exams. He was involved in bribing his professor’s housekeeper to steal a copy of the test from his desk. The group passed with good scores, as expected, and amusingly their professor was awarded a commendation.
He had low self-confidence.
Kafka is remembered by his friends as being self-conscious with a low opinion of himself. He often worried about sex, his body, and his relationships with women. . He also believed that people found him unattractive and even repulsive. These reasons are often cited as the reason that he never married and struggled to maintain a relationship
Franza Kafka has a strong sense of humour.
Despite feelings of inadequacy, Brod told others that Kafka had a dry sense of humor that made him an extremely entertaining person. He often enjoyed sharing humorous moments with friends and making them laugh.