July 3, 2015

Happy Birthday, Franz Kafka

Happy Birthday to Franz Kafka, born July 3, 1883 (died June 3, 1924).

Law is quite the theme of Kafka's life (and death).

On Wednesday July 1, an Israeli court ruled that his papers belong to the National Library of Israel, rather than to the daughters of Kafka's friend Max Brod's secretary (did you follow that?) The legal battle between the daughters and the government of Israel over who should dispose of the papers began in 2008.

Here's a short bibliography on law and literature in Franz Kafka.

Li-Ching Chang, The Research of Comparison Between Law and Literature: As Illustrated by Kafka's "The Trial"

Patrick Glen, The Destruction and Reification of Law in Franz Kafka's "Before the Law" and The Trial

Patrick Glen, Franz Kafka, Lawrence Joseph, and the Possibilities of Jurisprudential Literature

See also this bibliography (NB: not updated since 1995).

There have been several movie versions of Kafka's novel The Trial, most notably by Orson Welles (1962) and Martin Scorsese (1985). Films have also been made of The Castile, in 1968 (West German), 1994 (Russian) and Austrian (1997).  Steven Soderbergh directed Jeremy Irons in the film Kafka (1991), in which Irons as Kafka investigates the murder of a co-worker and uncovers the doings of a secret group tied to violence.

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
--Franz Kafka

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