Franz Kafka, photograph, 1906
|Occupation||Insurance officer, factory manager, novelist, short story writer|
|Genre||Fiction, short story|
|Literary movement||Modernism, existentialism|
|Notable works||The Trial, The Castle, The Metamorphosis|
Franz Kafka (German pronunciation: [ˈfʁants ˈkafka]; 3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) is one of the most influential fiction writers of the early 20th century; a novelist and writer of short stories whose works, only after his death, came to be regarded as one of the major achievements of 20th century literature.
He was born to middle class German-speaking Jewish parents in Prague, Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic, in what was then the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The house in which he was born, on the Old Town Square next to Prague's Church of St Nicholas, today contains a permanent exhibition devoted to the author.
Kafka's work—the novels The Trial (1925), The Castle (1926) and Amerika (1927), as well as short stories including The Metamorphosis (1912) and In the Penal Colony (1914)—is now collectively considered to be among the most original bodies of work in modern Western literature. Much of his work, unfinished at the time of his death, was published posthumously.
The writers' name has led to the term "Kafkaesque" being used in the English language.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Philosophy
- 3 Literary career
- 4 Published works
- 5 Commemoration
- 6 Literary and cultural references
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Bibliography
- 10 External links
His father, Hermann Kafka (1852–1931), was described as a "huge, selfish, overbearing businessman" and by Kafka himself as "a true Kafka in strength, health, appetite, loudness of voice, eloquence, self-satisfaction, worldly dominance, endurance, presence of mind, [and] knowledge of human nature". Hermann was the fourth child of Jacob Kafka, a ritual slaughterer, and came to Prague from Osek, a Czech-speaking Jewish village near Strakonice in southern Bohemia. After working as a traveling sales representative, he established himself as an independent retailer of men's and women's fancy goods and accessories, employing up to 15 people and using a jackdaw (kavka in Czech) as his business logo. Kafka's mother, Julie (1856–1934), was the daughter of Jakob Löwy, a prosperous brewer in Poděbrady, and was better educated than her husband.
Franz was the eldest of six children. He had two younger brothers: Georg and Heinrich, who died at the ages of fifteen months and six months, respectively, before Franz was seven; and three younger sisters, Gabriele ("Elli") (1889–1941), Valerie ("Valli") (1890–1942), and Ottilie ("Ottla") (1892–1943). On business days, both parents were absent from the home. His mother helped to manage her husband's business and worked in it as much as 12 hours a day. The children were largely reared by a series of governesses and servants. Franz's relationship with his father was severely troubled as explained in the Letter to His Father in which he complained of being profoundly affected by his father's authoritative and demanding character.
During World War II, Franz's sisters were sent with their families to the Łódź Ghetto and died there or in concentration camps. Ottla was sent to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and then on 7 October 1943 to the death camp at Auschwitz, where 1267 children and 51 guardians, including Ottla, were gassed to death on their arrival.
Kafka's first language was German, but he was also fluent in Czech. Later, Kafka acquired some knowledge of French language and culture; one of his favorite authors was Flaubert. From 1889 to 1893, he attended the Deutsche Knabenschule, the boys' elementary school at the Masný trh/Fleischmarkt (meat market), the street now known as Masná street. His Jewish education was limited to his Bar Mitzvah celebration at 13 and going to the synagogue four times a year with his father, which he loathed. After elementary school, he was admitted to the rigorous classics-oriented state gymnasium, Altstädter Deutsches Gymnasium, an academic secondary school with eight grade levels, where German was also the language of instruction, at Old Town Square, within the Kinsky Palace. He completed his Maturita exams in 1901.
Admitted to the Charles-Ferdinand University of Prague, Kafka first studied chemistry, but switched after two weeks to law. This offered a range of career possibilities, which pleased his father, and required a longer course of study that gave Kafka time to take classes in German studies and art history. At the university, he joined a student club, named Lese- und Redehalle der Deutschen Studenten, which organized literary events, readings and other activities. In the end of his first year of studies, he met Max Brod, who would become a close friend of his throughout his life, together with the journalist Felix Weltsch, who also studied law. Kafka obtained the degree of Doctor of Law on 18 June, 1906 and performed an obligatory year of unpaid service as law clerk for the civil and criminal courts.
On 1 November 1907, he was hired at the Assicurazioni Generali, a large Italian insurance company, where he worked for nearly a year. His correspondence, during that period, witnesses that he was unhappy with his working time schedule—from 8 p.m. (20:00) until 6 a.m. (06:00)—as it made it extremely difficult for him to concentrate on his writing. On 15 July 1908, he resigned, and two weeks later found more congenial employment with the Worker's Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia. The job involved investigating personal injury to industrial workers, and assessing compensation. Management professor Peter Drucker credits Kafka with developing the first civilian hard hat while he was employed at the Worker's Accident Insurance Institute, but this is not supported by any document from his employer. His father often referred to his son's job as insurance officer as a "Brotberuf", literally "bread job", a job done only to pay the bills. While Kafka often claimed that he despised the job, he was a diligent and capable employee. He was also given the task of compiling and composing the annual report and was reportedly quite proud of the results, sending copies to friends and family. In parallel, Kafka was also committed to his literary work. Together with his close friends Max Brod and Felix Weltsch, these three were called "Der enge Prager Kreis", the close Prague circle, which was part of a broader Prague Circle, "a loosely knit group of German-Jewish writers who contributed to the culturally fertile soil of Prague from the 1880s till after World War I."
In 1911, Karl Hermann, spouse of his sister Elli, asked Kafka to collaborate in the operation of an asbestos factory known as Prager Asbestwerke Hermann and Co. Kafka showed a positive attitude at first, dedicating much of his free time to the business. During that period, he also found interest and entertainment in the performances of Yiddish theatre, despite the misgivings of even close friends such as Max Brod, who usually supported him in everything else. Those performances also served as a starting point for his growing relationship with Judaism.
In 1912, at Max Brod's home, Kafka met Felice Bauer, who lived in Berlin and worked as a representative for a dictaphone company. Over the next five years they corresponded a great deal, met occasionally, and twice were engaged to be married. Their relationship finally ended in 1917.
In 1917, Kafka began to suffer from tuberculosis, which would require frequent convalescence during which he was supported by his family, most notably his sister Ottla. Despite his fear of being perceived as both physically and mentally repulsive, he impressed others with his boyish, neat, and austere good looks, a quiet and cool demeanor, obvious intelligence and dry sense of humor.
Kafka developed an intense relationship with Czech journalist and writer Milena Jesenská. In July of 1923, throughout a vacation to Graal-Müritz on the Baltic Sea, he met Dora Diamant and briefly moved to Berlin in the hope of distancing himself from his family's influence to concentrate on his writing. In Berlin, he lived with Diamant, a 25-year-old kindergarten teacher from an orthodox Jewish family, who was independent enough to have escaped her past in the ghetto. She became his lover, and influenced Kafka's interest in the Talmud.
Kafka's tuberculosis worsened in spite of using naturopathic treatments; he returned to Prague, then went to Dr. Hoffmann's sanatorium in Kierling near Vienna for treatment, where he died on 3 June 1924, apparently from starvation. The condition of Kafka's throat made eating too painful for him, and since parenteral nutrition had not yet been developed, there was no way to feed him. His body was ultimately brought back to Prague where he was buried on 11 June 1924, in the New Jewish Cemetery (sector 21, row 14, plot 33) in Prague-Žižkov.
Judaism and Zionism
In his essay, Sadness in Palestine?!, Dan Miron explores Kafka's connection to Zionism. "It seems that those who claim that there was such a connection and that Zionism played a central role in his life and literary work, and those who deny the connection altogether or dismiss its importance, are both wrong. The truth lies in some very elusive place between these two simplistic poles."
According to James Hawes, Kafka, though much aware of his own Jewishness, did not incorporate his Jewishness into his work. "There is zero actual Jewishness" nor any Jewish characters or specifically Jewish scenes in his work, says Hawes. In the opinion of literary critic Harold Bloom, author of The Western Canon, however, "Despite all his denials and beautiful evasions, [Kafka's writing] quite simply is Jewish writing." Lothar Kahn is likewise unequivocal: "The presence of Jewishness in Kafka's oeuvre is no longer subject to doubt." Pavel Eisner, one of Kafka's first translators, interprets the classic, The Trial, as the "triple dimension of Jewish existence in Prague is embodied in Kafka's The Trial: his protagonist Josef K. is (symbolically) arrested by a German (Rabensteiner), a Czech (Kullich), and a Jew (Kaminer). He stands for the "guiltless guilt" that imbues the Jew in the modern world, although there is no evidence that he himself is a Jew." 
Livia Rothkirchen calls Kafka the "symbolic figure of his era". His era included numerous other Jewish writers (Czech, German, and national Jews) who were sensitive to German, Czech, Austrian, and Jewish culture. According to Rothkirchen, "This situation lent their writings a broad cosmopolitan outlook and a quality of exaltation bordering on transcendental metaphysical contemplation. An illustrious example is Franz Kafka."
Kafka's writing attracted little attention until after his death. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories and never finished any of his novels, unless The Metamorphosis is considered a (short) novel. Prior to his death, Kafka wrote to his friend and literary executor Max Brod: "Dearest Max, my last request: Everything I leave behind me ... in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others'), sketches, and so on, [is] to be burned unread." Brod overrode Kafka's wishes, believing that Kafka had given these directions to him specifically because Kafka knew he would not honor them—Brod had told him as much. (His lover, Dora Diamant, also ignored his wishes, secretly keeping up to 20 notebooks and 35 letters until they were confiscated by the Gestapo in 1933. An ongoing international search is being conducted for these missing Kafka papers.) Brod, in fact, would oversee the publication of most of Kafka's work in his possession, which soon began to attract attention and high critical regard.
All of Kafka's published works, except several letters he wrote in Czech to Milena Jesenská, were written in German.
Kafka often made extensive use of a trait special to the German language allowing for long sentences that sometimes can span an entire page. Kafka's sentences then deliver an unexpected impact just before the full stop—that being the finalizing meaning and focus. This is achieved due to the construction of certain sentences in German which require that the verb be positioned at the end of the sentence. Such constructions cannot be duplicated in English, so it is up to the translator to provide the reader with the same effect found in the original text.
Another virtually insurmountable problem facing the translator is how to deal with the author's intentional use of ambiguous terms or of words that have several meanings. One such instance is found in the first sentence of The Metamorphosis. English translators have often sought to render the word Ungeziefer as "insect"; in Middle German, however, Ungeziefer literally means "unclean animal not suitable for sacrifice" and is sometimes used colloquially to mean "bug" – a very general term, unlike the scientific sounding "insect". Kafka had no intention of labeling Gregor, the protagonist of the story, as any specific thing, but instead wanted to convey Gregor's disgust at his transformation. Another example is Kafka's use of the German noun Verkehr in the final sentence of The Judgment. Literally, Verkehr means intercourse and, as in English, can have either a sexual or non-sexual meaning; in addition, it is used to mean transport or traffic. The sentence can be translated as: "At that moment an unending stream of traffic crossed over the bridge." What gives added weight to the obvious double meaning of 'Verkehr' is Kafka's confession to Max Brod that when he wrote that final line, he was thinking of "a violent ejaculation".
Critics have interpreted Kafka's works in the context of a variety of literary schools, such as modernism, magic realism, and so on. The apparent hopelessness and absurdity that seem to permeate his works are considered emblematic of existentialism. Others have tried to locate a Marxist influence in his satirization of bureaucracy in pieces such as In the Penal Colony, The Trial, and The Castle, whereas others point to anarchism as an inspiration for Kafka's anti-bureaucratic viewpoint. Still others have interpreted his works through the lens of Judaism (Borges made a few perceptive remarks in this regard), through freudianism (because of his familial struggles), or as allegories of a metaphysical quest for God (Thomas Mann was a proponent of this theory).
Themes of alienation and persecution are repeatedly emphasized, and the emphasis on this quality, notably in the work of Marthe Robert, partly inspired the counter-criticism of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, who argued in Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature that there was much more to Kafka than the stereotype of a lonely figure writing out of anguish, and that his work was more deliberate, subversive, and more "joyful" than it appears to be.
Furthermore, an isolated reading of Kafka's work—focusing on the futility of his characters' struggling without the influence of any studies on Kafka's life—reveals the humor of Kafka. Kafka's work, in this sense, is not a written reflection of any of his own struggles, but a reflection of how people invent struggles.
Biographers have said that it was common for Kafka to read chapters of the books he was working on to his closest friends, and that those readings usually concentrated on the humorous side of his prose. Milan Kundera refers to the essentially surrealist humour of Kafka as a main predecessor of later artists such as Federico Fellini, Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes and Salman Rushdie. For García Márquez, it was as he said the reading of Kafka's The Metamorphosis that showed him "that it was possible to write in a different way."
Law and legality in Kafka's fiction
Many attempts have been made to examine Kafka’s legal background and the role of law in his fiction. These attempts remain relatively few in number compared to the vast collection of literature devoted to the study of his life and works, and marginal to legal scholarship. Mainstream studies of Kafka’s works normally present his fiction as an engagement with absurdity, a critique of bureaucracy or a search for redemption, failing to account for the images of law and legality which constitute an important part of “the horizon of meaning” in his fiction. Many of his descriptions of the legal proceedings in The Trial – metaphysical, absurd, bewildering and “Kafkaesque” as they might appear – are, in fact, based on accurate and informed descriptions of German and Austrian criminal proceedings of the time. The significance of law in Kafka’s fiction is also neglected within legal scholarship, for as Richard Posner pointed out, most lawyers do not consider writings about law in the form of fiction of any relevance to the understanding or the practice of law. Regardless of the concerns of mainstream studies of Kafka with redemption and absurdity, and what jurists such as Judge Posner might think relevant to law and legal practice, the fact remains that Kafka was an insurance lawyer who, besides being involved in litigation, was also “keenly aware of the legal debates of his day” (Ziolkowski, 2003, p. 224).
In a recent study which uses Kafka's office writings as its point of departure, Reza Banakar argues that "legal images in Kafka’s fiction are worthy of examination, not only because of their bewildering, enigmatic, bizarre, profane and alienating effects, or because of the deeper theological or existential meaning they suggest, but also as a particular concept of law and legality which operates paradoxically as an integral part of the human condition under modernity. To explore this point Kafka’s conception of law is placed in the context of his overall writing as a search for Heimat which takes us beyond the instrumental understanding of law advocated by various schools of legal positivism and allows us to grasp law as a form of experience" (see Banakar 2010).
Much of Kafka's work was unfinished, or prepared for publication posthumously by Max Brod. The novels The Castle (which stopped mid-sentence and had ambiguity on content), The Trial (chapters were unnumbered and some were incomplete) and Amerika (Kafka's original title was The Man who Disappeared) were all prepared for publication by Brod. It appears Brod took a few liberties with the manuscript (moving chapters, changing the German and cleaning up the punctuation), and thus the original German text was altered prior to publication. The editions by Brod are generally referred to as the Definitive Editions.
According to the publisher's note for The Castle, Malcolm Pasley was able to get most of Kafka's original handwritten work into the Oxford Bodleian Library in 1961. The text for The Trial was later acquired through auction and is stored at the German literary archives at Marbach, Germany.
Subsequently, Pasley headed a team (including Gerhard Neumann, Jost Schillemeit, and Jürgen Born) in reconstructing the German novels and S. Fischer Verlag republished them. Pasley was the editor for Das Schloß (The Castle), published in 1982, and Der Prozeß (The Trial), published in 1990. Jost Schillemeit was the editor of Der Verschollene (Amerika) published in 1983. These are all called the "Critical Editions" or the "Fischer Editions." The German critical text of these, and Kafka's other works, may be found online at The Kafka Project. This site is continuously building the repository.
There is another Kafka Project based at San Diego State University, which began in 1998 as the official international search for Kafka's last writings. Consisting of 20 notebooks and 35 letters to Kafka's last companion, Dora Diamant (later, Dymant-Lask), this missing literary treasure was confiscated from her by the Gestapo in Berlin 1933. The Kafka Project's four-month search of government archives in Berlin in 1998 uncovered the confiscation order and other significant documents. In 2003, the Kafka Project discovered three original Kafka letters, written in 1923. Building on the search conducted by Max Brod and Klaus Wagenbach in the mid-1950s, the Kafka Project at SDSU has an advisory committee of international scholars and researchers, and is calling for volunteers who want to help solve a literary mystery.
In 2008, academic and Kafka expert James Hawes accused scholars of suppressing details of the pornography Kafka subscribed to (published by the same man who was Kafka's own first publisher) in order to preserve his image as a quasi-saintly "outsider".
There are two primary sources for the translations based on the two German editions. The earliest English translations were by Edwin and Willa Muir and published by Alfred A. Knopf. These editions were widely published and spurred the late-1940s surge in Kafka's popularity in the United States. Later editions (notably the 1954 editions) had the addition of the deleted text translated by Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser. These are known as "Definitive Editions." They translated both The Trial, Definitive and The Castle, Definitive among other writings. Definitive Editions are generally accepted to have a number of biases and to be dated in interpretation.
After Pasley and Schillemeit completed their recompilation of the German text, the new translations were completed and published – The Castle, Critical by Mark Harman (Schocken Books, 1998), The Trial, Critical by Breon Mitchell (Schocken Books, 1998) and Amerika: The Man Who Disappeared by Michael Hoffman (New Directions Publishing, 2004). These editions are often noted as being based on the restored text.
- Short stories
- Description of a Struggle (Beschreibung eines Kampfes, 1904–1905)
- Wedding Preparations in the Country (Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande, 1907–1908)
- Contemplation (Betrachtung, 1904–1912)
- The Judgment (Das Urteil, 22–23 September 1912)
- The Stoker
- In the Penal Colony (In der Strafkolonie, October 1914)
- The Village Schoolmaster (Der Dorfschullehrer or Der Riesenmaulwurf, 1914–1915)
- Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor (Blumfeld, ein älterer Junggeselle, 1915)
- The Warden of the Tomb (Der Gruftwächter, 1916–1917), the only play Kafka wrote
- The Hunter Gracchus (Der Jäger Gracchus, 1917)
- The Great Wall of China (Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer, 1917)
- A Report to an Academy (Ein Bericht für eine Akademie, 1917)
- Jackals and Arabs (Schakale und Araber, 1917)
- A Country Doctor (Ein Landarzt, 1919)
- A Message from the Emperor (Eine kaiserliche Botschaft, 1919)
- An Old Manuscript (Ein altes Blatt, 1919)
- The Refusal (Die Abweisung, 1920)
- A Hunger Artist (Ein Hungerkünstler, 1924)
- Investigations of a Dog (Forschungen eines Hundes, 1922)
- A Little Woman (Eine kleine Frau, 1923)
- First Sorrow (Erstes Leid, 1921–1922)
- The Burrow (Der Bau, 1923–1924)
- Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk (Josephine, die Sängerin, oder Das Volk der Mäuse, 1924)
Many collections of the stories have been published, and they include:
- The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces. New York: Schocken Books, 1948.
- The Complete Stories, (ed. Nahum N. Glatzer). New York: Schocken Books, 1971.
- The Basic Kafka. New York: Pocket Books, 1979.
- The Sons. New York: Schocken Books, 1989.
- The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories. New York: Schocken Books, 1995.
- Contemplation. Twisted Spoon Press, 1998.
- Metamorphosis and Other Stories. Penguin Classics, 2007
- The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung, November – December 1915)
- The Trial (Der Prozeß, 1925) (includes short story Before the Law)
- The Castle (Das Schloß, 1926)
- Amerika (Amerika or Der Verschollene, 1927)
- Diaries and notebooks
- Letter to His Father
- Letters to Felice
- Letters to Ottla
- Letters to Milena
- Letters to Family, Friends, and Editors
Franz Kafka has a museum dedicated to his work in Prague, Czech Republic.
The term "Kafkaesque" is widely used to describe concepts, situations, and ideas which are reminiscent of Kafka's works, particularly The Trial and The Metamorphosis.
In Mexico, the phrase "Si Franz Kafka fuera mexicano, sería costumbrista" (If Franz Kafka were Mexican, he would be a Costumbrista writer) is commonly used in newspapers, blogs, and online forums to tell how hopeless and absurd the situation in the country is.
It has been noted that "from the Czech point of view, Kafka was German, and from the German point of view he was, above all, Jewish" and that this was a common "fate of much of Western Jewry."
Literary and cultural references
- Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer wrote a short story called "A Friend of Kafka," which was about a Yiddish actor called Jacques Kohn who said he knew Franz Kafka. In this story, according to Jacques Kohn, Kafka believed in the Golem, a legendary creature from Jewish folklore.
- Kafka Americana by Jonathan Lethem and Carter Scholz is a collection of stories based on Kafka's life and works.
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
- Kafka was the Rage, a Greenwich Village Memoir by Anatole Broyard
- Kafka's Curse by Achmat Dangor
- The Kafka Effekt by American bizarro author D. Harlan Wilson, who relates his take on the irrealism genre of literature to that of Franz Kafka, and to that of William S. Burroughs.
- Criminal (comics) by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips contains, within a re-occurring comic strip seen in characters newspapers, the adventures of 'Franz Kafka PI'. The 4th story arc of the book also involves the creator of the strip. There is talk of a spin off series written by Matt Fraction.
- Zoetrope : an experimental avant-garde short film by Charlie Deaux, Zoetrope (1999) on IMDb. Adaptation of "In the Penal Colony".
- The Hunger Artist (2002) on IMDb : an animated feature by Tom Gibbons
- Menschenkörper (2004) on IMDb Adaptation of "A Country Doctor". Short film by Tobias Frühmorgen
- A Country Doctor (2007) on IMDb Adaptation of "A Country Doctor". Short film by Koji Yamamura
- Science Fiction author Rudy Rucker has published a short story entitled "The 57th Franz Kafka", which is also the title of a collection of his short stories.
- Kafka (1990) Jeremy Irons stars as the eponymous author. Written by Lem Dobbs and directed by Steven Soderbergh, the movie mixes his life and fiction providing a semi-biographical presentation of Kafka's life and works. The story concerns Kafka investigating the disappearance of one of his work colleagues. The plot takes Kafka through many of the writer's own works, most notably The Castle and The Trial.
- Franz Kafka (1992) on IMDb : an animated film by Piotr Dumała
- The Trial (1962) Orson Welles wrote and directed this adaptation of the novel starring Anthony Perkins, Jeanne Moreau, and Romy Schneider. In a 1962 BBC Interview with Huw Wheldon, Orson Welles noted, "Say what you like, but The Trial is the best film I have ever made".
- Klassenverhältnisse Class Relations (1984) Directed by the experimental filmmaking duo of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet based on Kafka's novel Amerika.
- The Trial (1993) Starring Kyle MacLachlan as Joseph K. with Anthony Hopkins in a cameo role as the priest as a strictly faithful adaptation with a screenplay by playwright Harold Pinter.
- A Movie Adaptation of (The Castle) Das Schloß (1997) on IMDb by Michael Haneke. More on Das Schloß (film)
- In an episode of Adult Swim's Home Movies (TV series), Duane of the rock group Scab wrote a rock opera about the life of Franz Kafka and played the title character.
- Suda51 is planning to make a game based on The Castle entitled "Kurayami".
- Kafka goes to the Forest (2009) a short experimental film directed by Daniel Matos, the movie is a surreal representation of his last days internal conflicts.
- Die Verwandlung on IMDb
- Förvandlingen on IMDb
- The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa on IMDb, an animated short by Caroline Leaf
- Metamorphosis on IMDb
- Franz Kafka's 'It's a Wonderful Life' (1993) is an Oscar-winning short film written and directed by Peter Capaldi and starring Richard E. Grant as Kafka. The film blends The Metamorphosis with Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life.
- The Metamorphosis of Franz Kafka (1993) by Carlos Atanes.
- Prevrashcheniye on IMDb
- Metamorfosis on IMDb
- Alan Bennett, Kafka's Dick, 1986, a play in which the ghosts of Kafka, his father Hermann, and Max Brod arrive at the home of an English insurance clerk (and Kafka aficionado) and his wife.
- Milan Richter, Kafka's Hell-Paradise, 2006, a play with 5 characters, using Kafka's aphorisms, dreams and re-telling his relations to his father and to the women. Translated from the Slovak by Ewald Osers.
- Milan Richter, Kafka's Second Life, 2007, a play with 17 characters, starting in Kierling where Kafka is dying and ending in Prague in 1961. Translated from the Slovak by Ewald Osers.
- Tadeusz Różewicz, Pułapka (The Trap), 1982, a play loosely based on Kafka's diaries and letters
- Hungarian composer György Kurtág wrote a piece for soprano and violin, using fragments of Kafka's diary and letters: Kafka-Fragmente, Op. 24, 1985.
- Russian hip hop band 2H Company refers to The Metamorphosis in their probably most famous song "Adaptation". The main hero of the song read the novella before going to bed, and then had a dream that caused all humans' bodies transformation.
- Australian band Lost Valentinos released their song "Kafka" on a 2005 EP release titled "The Valentinos". The track "Kafka" uses imparted knowledge of Kafka's death as a symbolism of frustration and desperate helplessness in the downfall of a relationship.
- In the song "Eleven Saints" by Jason Webley Kafka is metioned in the lyrics, "...we're just sittin' by the train tracks reading Kafka to the sky,".
- Josef Tal’s last opera Josef (1993), is inspired in part by Franz Kafka Josef Tal – In Memoriam
- Franz Kafka Franz Kafka
- (in Spanish)Contijoch, Francesc Miralles (2000) "Franz Kafka". Oceano Grupo Editorial, S.A. Barcelona. ISBN 84-494-1811-9.
- Corngold 1973
- Gilman, Sander L. (2005) Franz Kafka. Reaktion Books Ltd. London, UK. p. 20–21. ISBN 1-88187-264-5.
- Hamalian (, 3).
- Danuta Czech: Kalendarz wydarzeń w KL Auschwitz, Oświęcim 1992, p. 534. In the archives of the camp a list with the names of the guardians was preserved.
- Derek Sayer, "The language of nationality and the nationality of language: Prague 1780–1920 – Czech Republic history", Past and Present, 1996; 153: 164–210.
- Letter to his Father, p. 150
- Drucker, Peter. Managing in the Next Society. See: Franz Kafka, Amtliche Schriften. Eds. K. Hermsdorf & B. Wagner (2004) (Engl. transl.: The Office Writings. Eds. S. Corngold, J. Greenberg & B. Wagner. Transl. E. Patton with R. Hein (2008)); cf. H.-G. Koch & K. Wagenbach (eds.), Kafkas Fabriken (2002).
- The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, notes. Herberth Czermak. Lincoln, Nebraska: Cliffs Notes 1973, 1996.
- "Kafka and Judaism". Victorian.fortunecity.com. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Ryan McKittrick speaks with director Dominique Serrand and Gideon Lester about Amerika www.amrep.org
- Lothar Hempel www.atlegerhardsen.com
- Levi 1972, p. 1
- Levi 1972, p. 2
- Levi 1972, p. 3
- Levi 1972, p. 4
- Levi 1972, p. 5
- Levi 1972, p. 6
- Levi 1972, p. 7
- Levi 1972, p. 8
- Levi 1972, p. 9
- Levi 1972, p. 10
- Levi 1972, p. 11
- "Sadness in Palestine". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
- Franz Kafka’s porn brought out of the closet - Times Online at entertainment.timesonline.co.uk
- Lothar Kahn, in Between Two Worlds: a cultural history of German-Jewish writers, page 191
- Livia Rothkirchen, The Jews of Bohemia and Moravia: facing the Holocaust, University of Nebraska Press, 2005 p. 23
- Quoted in Publisher's Note to The Castle, Schocken Books.
- Kafka (1996, xi).
- ungeziefer : Dictionary / Wörterbuch (BEOLINGUS, TU Chemnitz)
- Kafka (1996, 75).
- Brod. Max: "Franz Kafka, a Biography". (trans. Humphreys Roberts) New York: Schocken Books,1960. p. 129.
- Franz Kafka 1883 – 1924 www.coskunfineart.com
- For an overview of studies which focus on Kafka’s images of law see Banakar, Reza. “In Search of Heimat: A Note on Franz Kafka's Concept of Law”. Forthcoming in Law and Literature 2010. An e-copy available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1574870
- Corngold, Stanley et. al., (eds.) Franz Kafka: The Office Writings. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2009.
- "In Search of Heimat: A Note on Franz Kafka's Concept of Law” at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1574870
- A Kafka For The 21st century by Arthur Samuelson, publisher, Schocken Books www.jhom.com
- Schocken Books, 1998
- (in German) Herzlich Willkommen www.dla-marbach.de
- (publisher's note, The Trial, Schocken Books, 1998
- Stepping into Kafka’s head, Jeremy Adler, Times Literary Supplement, 13 October 1995 <http://www.textkritik.de/rezensionen/kafka/einl_04.htm>
- The Kafka Project – all Kafka text in German According to the Manuscript www.kafka.org
- Sources: Kafka, by Nicolas Murray, pages 367, 374; Kafka's Last Love, by Kathi Diamant; "Summary of the Results of the Kafka Project Berlin Research 1 June – September 1998" published in December 1998 Kafka Katern, quarterly of the Kafka Circle of the Netherlands. More information is available at http://www.kafkaproject.com
- Aquella, Daniel (22 November 2006). "México kafkiano y costumbrista". Daquella manera:Paseo personal por inquietudes culturales, sociales y lo que tengamos a bien obrar. Retrieved 16 February 2007.
- Bashevis Singer, Isaac (1970). A Friend of Kafka, and Other Stories. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 311. ISBN 0-37415-880-0.
- (in German) Menschenkörper movie website www.menschenkoerper.de
- Levi, Mijal (1972). Kafka and Anarchism (in Spanish). Brooklyn, New York 11202: The Revisionist Press. ISBN 0-87700-189-8.
- Adorno, Theodor. Prisms. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1967.
- Banakar, Reza. "In Search of Heimat: A Note on Franz Kafka's Concept of Law". Forthcoming in Law and Literature volume 22, 2010. 
- Corngold, Stanley. Introduction to The Metamorphosis. Bantam Classics, 1972. ISBN 0-553-21369-5.
- Hamalian, Leo, ed. Franz Kafka: A Collection of Criticism. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974. ISBN 0-07-025702-7.
- Heller, Paul. Franz Kafka: Wissenschaft und Wissenschaftskritik. Tuebingen: Stauffenburg, 1989. ISBN 3-923-72140-4.
- Kafka, Franz. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories. Trans. Donna Freed. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1996. ISBN 1-56619-969-7.
- Kafka, Franz. Kafka's Selected Stories. Norton Critical Edition. Trans. Stanley Corngold. New York: Norton, 2005. ISBN 9780393924794.
- Brod, Max. Franz Kafka: A Biography. New York: Da Capo Press, 1995. ISBN 0-306-80670-3
- Brod, Max. The Biography of Franz Kafka, tr. from the German by G. Humphreys Roberts. London: Secker & Warburg, 1947. OCLC 2771397
- Calasso, Roberto. K. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 1-4000-4189-9
- Citati, Pietro, Kafka, 1987. ISBN 0-7859-2173-7
- Coots, Steve. Franz Kafka (Beginner's Guide). Headway, 2002, ISBN 0-340-84648-8
- Deleuze, Gilles & Félix Guattari. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (Theory and History of Literature, Vol 30). Minneapolis, University of Minnesota, 1986. ISBN 0-8166-1515-2
- Danta, Chris. "Sarah's Laughter: Kafka's Abraham" in Modernism/Modernity 15:2 ( April 2008), 343–59.
- Glatzer, Nahum N., The Loves of Franz Kafka. New York: Schocken Books, 1986. ISBN 0-8052-4001-2
- Greenberg, Martin, The Terror of Art: Kafka and Modern Literature. New York, Basic Books, 1968. ISBN 0-465-08415-X
- Gordimer, Nadine (1984). "Letter from His Father" in Something Out There, London, Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-007711-1
- Hayman, Ronald. K, a Biography of Kafka. London: Phoenix Press, 2001.ISBN 1-84212-415-3
- Janouch, Gustav. Conversations with Kafka. New York: New Directions Books, second edition 1971. (Translated by Goronwy Rees.)ISBN 0-8112-0071-X
- Murray, Nicholas. Kafka. New Haven: Yale, 2004.
- Pawel, Ernst. The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka. New York: Vintage Books, 1985. ISBN 0-374-52335-5
- Thiher, Allen (ed.). Franz Kafka: A Study of the Short Fiction (Twayne's Studies in Short Fiction, No. 12). ISBN 0-8057-8323-7
- Philippe Zard: La fiction de l'Occident : Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Albert Cohen, Paris, P.U.F., 1999.
- Philippe Zard (ed) : Sillage de Kafka, Paris, Le Manuscrit, 2007, ISBN 2-7481-8610-9.
- Ziolkowski, Theodore, The Mirror of Justice: Literary Reflections of Legal Crisis. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2003 (first ed. 1997)
- Franz Kafka in the German National Library catalogue
- Works by Franz Kafka at Project Gutenberg
- Cast/Kafka on IMDb
- Kafka-metamorphosis[dead link] public wiki dedicated to Kafka and his work
- The Kafka Project project to publish online all Kafka texts in German
- End of Kafkaesque nightmare: writer's papers finally come to light
- Kafka Society of America
- Deutsche Kafka-Gesellschaft
- Spolecnost Franze Kafky a nakladatelstvi Franze Kafky Franz Kafka Society and Publishing House in Prague
- Oxford Kafka Research Centre – information on ongoing international Kafka research
- Journeys of Franz Kafka Photographs of places where Kafka lived and worked
- Finding Kafka in Prague Trying to find Kafka in today's Prague