OK - maybe this is the last I'll make about this. Start and end the week with Kafka - who can possibly ask for more. But the minute any details emerge about what is actually in this trove of manuscripts - attention must be paid and comment will be made. Particularly if there happens to be any form of diary or letters.
But I will beat this horse once again, because it ain't dead. Comment has universally been made that Kafka's friend, Max Brod, went against Kafka's wishes, and did not burn his manuscripts. However, Kafka well knew that Brod would not do this, as Brod had already told him such. This is a quote from a John Updike forward I have found:
"But Brod disobeyed. Predictably: while Kafka was alive Brod
had often elicited manuscripts from his excessively scrupulous friend and was
instrumental in the publication of some few of them. In Brod's words: "he knew with
what fanatical veneration I listened to his every word. . . during the whole twenty-two
years of our unclouded friendship, I never once threw away the smallest scrap of paper
that came from him, no, not even a post card." In a conversation of 1921 he warned
Kafka he would burn nothing."
Really, had Kafka wanted all his manuscripts destroyed, he would have done so himself. It is estimated he already had burned 90% of his own work.
Max and Franz
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Verdict in the trial of Kafka's legacy
A legal wrangle for ownership of the Czech master's unseen works has finally ended
The writings of Franz Kafka became a byword for surreal brutality and psychological alienation. The final chapter in his story that ended last week in a Tel Aviv courtroom is a tale of death, passion, greed and deception that reads more like an airport thriller than a work by the ascetic Czech master.
Kafka famously demanded that his life-long friend Max Brod burn all his papers when he died, in 1924. Instead, Brod published many of Kafka's works posthumously, enshrining his reputation as one of the greatest authors of the 20th century. When the Nazis invaded Prague in 1939, Brod fled to Palestine, carrying Kafka's surviving papers and manuscripts with him.
When Brod died in Tel Aviv in 1968, he bequeathed his archive – including the papers from Kafka – to his secretary and mistress Esther Hoffe, with instructions that they be "handed over" to an Israeli public archive.
Instead, Ms Hoffe broke up the collection, spreading it between her Tel Aviv apartment and at least 10 safety-deposit boxes in Israel and Switzerland, and began selling pieces of it to the highest bidder, chief among them the German Literature Archive in Marbach, which acquired the original manuscript of The Trial for $2m in 1988.