I was fortunate (and exceedingly pleased) many years ago to see an exhibit of Kafka's personal correspondence. I did soooo much desire to have Maxwell's little silver hammer to break through the glass cases and snatch some away. There were letters and post cards (Kafka took many vacations and was a slavish post card sender). It was a thrill to see in front of me what I had only looked at reproduced in books. Ah - to have received a card from Zurich with K's abrupt signature.
The postcard ‘Scenes from my life’ (sent in December 1918) represents one of the finest examples of Kafka’s drawings
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Kafka's thoughts to go on display
by Andrew Ffrench
ONE of Franz Kafka’s best-known tales is about a man turning into a beetle.
Now examples of the author’s spidery handwriting have gone on display for the first time at Oxford’s Bodleian Library.
Letters and postcards revealing the close relationship between Kafka and his sister Ottla are the subject of a new exhibition.
The newly acquired letters of the author of The Trial and Metamorphosis are now on show at the Broad Street library.
The Liebe Ottla exhibition celebrates the acquisition of the letters in April this year with the Deutsches Literatur-archiv in Marbach, Germany.
The display includes 18 letters and 10 postcards and picture postcards.
Bodleian spokesman Oana Romocea said: “The correspondence gives an insight into Kafka’s everyday life as much as it sketches a portrait of Ottla.”
Deputy librarian Richard Ovenden added: “Following the joint acquisition of Kafka’s letters to Ottla in April, we are delighted to organise the first Oxford events in a series of joint programmes of exchanges of academic Fellows and exhibitions, as well as other research activities related to Kafka between the Bodleian, the University of Oxford and the Deutsches Literatur-archiv.”
Ottla was the youngest of Kafka’s three sisters.
In one of the letters on display, dated July 4 1918, the author remarks how well he and his sister understand each other.