Hidden Kafka Papers Found

Not to overdo the Franz Kafka connections the past week, but you know how it is - when you focus on something, suddenly you see it all over the place.

I wrote about Kafka last weekend and then I was listening online to the radio show The Takeaway and they spoke to the director of the Kafka Society of America. It turns out that there are unpublished papers by Franz Kafka that have been hidden away in safety deposit boxes in Zurich, Switzerland and Tel Aviv, Israel.

You may know that Kafka published only a few short stories during his life, and never finished any of his novels. He told his friend and literary executor Max Brod that his "last request" was that "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."

Luckily, Brod did not obey. Kafka's girlfriend at the end of his life, Dora, also ignored Kafka's last request and had notebooks and letters. They were confiscated by the Gestapo in 1933 and were missing since then. It looks like they have been found.

Israel’s supreme court recently ordered that the boxes, which contain thousands of handwritten documents by one of the most influential novelists of the 20th century, be opened. However, there is still an ongoing legal dispute about who owns the collection of private papers.

Listen to the radio story...

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