Free Franz Kafka -

Free Franz Kafka

The literary world will soon get previously unpublished works by the Czech author


An Israeli judge overseeing a battle over papers once belonging to Franz Kafka has ruled that details of the documents should be made public, overruling the late author’s wish that his papers be destroyed after his death. This means that previously unpublished works—manuscripts, letters, journals, and at least one handwritten short story—will be made public. The decision is a victory for Israel’s national library and for Kafka scholars around the world.


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Free Franz Kafka

  1. I really like Kafka so I'm definitely very happy about this.
    However it's a bitersweet feeling: if the author didn't want them published, they shouldn't be published. End of story.

    • Agreed on both counts: happy about the publishing, sure, but they should have respected the author's wish.

  2. New Kafka is always a good thing.

  3. If they are not going to honour Kafka's wishes, they at least need to ensure that obtaining copies of these documents involves bizarre bureaucratic processes and lengthy visits to huge, alienating buildings. Here is a link to a video which captures this concept nicely:

  4. It is true that Kafka did ask Brod to burn his manuscripts upon his death. However, it is also true that Kafka knew Brod was not going to perform the deed.

    Kafka had asked Brod on previous occasions to destroy his manuscripts after he died, and Brod told him point blank that he would not do it. Kafka asked the one person he knew would not destroy the manuscripts, to do the deed. In many ways, so typically Kafka.

    Had Kafka really wanted his manuscripts destroyed, he would have asked someone like his sister Ottla (who most likely would do whatever he asked). Or – of course – he would have done it himself. He had, over his life, already burned many of his own manuscripts.

  5. as a creative writer this makes me pause. any artist has the unequivocal right to destroy his or her work if s/he finds it objectionable, below standard, or simply displeasing.

    as one who will die it makes me pause as well. is there not something called a "will" that is required to be followed by those who remain, in the disposition of my estate? i realize that there are legitimate occasions when a judge must rule, whether on fairness, competence etc. but by and large, one's instructions are to be followed.

    so that i find i must acquire a much more efficient shredder, and use it more vigorously, to ensure that my reputation as an author will not, at some future date, be begrimed and besmirched by overlooked remnants of writing that displeased me.