About This Author

Franz Kafka

Black-and-white photograph of Kafka as a young man with dark hair in a formal suit
Kafka in 1906

Born

3 July 1883
  • Prague, Bohemia, Lands of the Bohemian Crown, Austria-Hungary

Died

3 June 1924
Kierling, part of Klosterneuburg, Lower Austria, Austria

Citizenship

  • Austria-Hungary
  • Czechoslovakia

Alma mater

German Charles-Ferdinand University, Prague

Occupation

  • Novelist
  • short story writer
  • insurance officer

Notable work

  • " Die Verwandlung "
  • Der Process
  • " Das Urteil "
  • Das Schloss
  • Betrachtung
  • Ein Hungerk√ľnstler
  • Briefe an Felice

Style

Modernism

Parent

  • Hermann Kafka
  • Julie Kafka

Signature

Franz Kafka's signature.svg

Franz Kafka was a German-speaking Bohemian Jewish novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work, which fuses elements of realism and the fantastic, typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers, and has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include "Die Verwandlung" , Der Process , and Das Schloss . The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those found in his writing.

Kafka was born into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today the capital of the Czech Republic. He trained as a lawyer, and after completing his legal education, was employed full-time by an insurance company, forcing him to relegate writing to his spare time. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote hundreds of letters to family and close friends, including his father, with whom he had a strained and formal relationship. He became engaged to several women but never married. He died in 1924 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis.

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Discover Franz Kafka Quotes and Sayings

You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. - Franz Kafka

You need not even listen, simply wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked.

Franz Kafka

silence patience
Sensual love deceives one as to the nature of heavenly love it could not do so alone, but since it unconsciously has the element of heavenly love within it, it can do so. - Franz Kafka

Sensual love deceives one as to the nature of heavenly love it could not do so alone, but since it unconsciously has the element of heavenly love within it, it can do so.

Franz Kafka

nature alone
It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet. - Franz Kafka

It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.

Franz Kafka

alone
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. - Franz Kafka

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Franz Kafka

beauty
Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. - Franz Kafka

Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Franz Kafka

beauty
My 'fear' is my substance, and probably the best part of me. - Franz Kafka

My 'fear' is my substance, and probably the best part of me.

Franz Kafka

fear best
The experience of life consists of the experience which the spirit has of itself in matter and as matter, in mind and as mind, in emotion, as emotion, etc. - Franz Kafka

The experience of life consists of the experience which the spirit has of itself in matter and as matter, in mind and as mind, in emotion, as emotion, etc.

Franz Kafka

experience
So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being. - Franz Kafka

So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.

Franz Kafka

time food
God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them. - Franz Kafka

God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.

Franz Kafka

god
In theory there is a possibility of perfect happiness: To believe in the indestructible element within one, and not to strive towards it. - Franz Kafka

In theory there is a possibility of perfect happiness: To believe in the indestructible element within one, and not to strive towards it.

Franz Kafka

happiness
The history of mankind is the instant between two strides taken by a traveler. - Franz Kafka

The history of mankind is the instant between two strides taken by a traveler.

Franz Kafka

history
Don Quixote's misfortune is not his imagination, but Sancho Panza. - Franz Kafka

Don Quixote's misfortune is not his imagination, but Sancho Panza.

Franz Kafka

imagination
We are sinful not only because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but also because we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Life. The state in which we are is sinful, irrespective of guilt. - Franz Kafka

We are sinful not only because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but also because we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Life. The state in which we are is sinful, irrespective of guilt.

Franz Kafka

knowledge
How pathetically scanty my self-knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room. There is no such thing as observation of the inner world, as there is of the outer world. - Franz Kafka

How pathetically scanty my self-knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room. There is no such thing as observation of the inner world, as there is of the outer world.

Franz Kafka

knowledge
Woman, or more precisely put, perhaps, marriage, is the representative of life with which you are meant to come to terms. - Franz Kafka

Woman, or more precisely put, perhaps, marriage, is the representative of life with which you are meant to come to terms.

Franz Kafka

marriage
You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid. - Franz Kafka

You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.

Franz Kafka

nature