Franz Kafka approximately 1917
Franz Kafka (July 3, 1883 - June 3, 1924), was a novelist who was born and lived in Prague (Bohemia), which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He is generally considered neither a Czech author, since he wrote mostly in German, nor a German author since he spent almost his entire life in Bohemia.
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Kafka's writing is noted for it dark tone, language, and themes of alienation and persecution. His most famous works include the short stories The Metamorphosis, A Hunger Artist, and novels The Trial, Amerika, and The Castle.
Kafka was born July 3, 1883, into a middle class Prague Jewish family. He received his law degree in 1906 and went to work for an insurance agency. Kafka began writing on the side. In 1917 he began to suffer from tuberculosis, which would require frequent convalescence
during which he was supported by his family.
Kafka's relationship with his domineering father is an important theme in his writing. In 1923 he briefly moved to Berlin in the hope of distancing himself from his family's influence to concentrate on his writing. His tuberculosis worsened; he returned to Prague, then went to a sanatorium near Vienna for treatment, where he died on June 3, 1924. His body was brought back to Prague where he was buried June 11, 1924.
Kafka published only a few short stories during his lifetime, a small part of his work, and consequently his writing attracted little attention until after his death. Before dying, he instructed his friend and literary executor Max Brod, to destroy all of his manuscripts and ensure that they never saw the light of day. Fortunately for literature, however, Brod did not take Kafka literally and oversaw the publication of most of his work, which soon began to attract attention and critical regard.