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The Diaries of Franz Kafka (Schocken classics) Paperback – 1 Nov 1988


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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken Books (1 Nov 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805209069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805209068
  • Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 2.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By xDukex on 30 April 2010
Format: Paperback
There is as much love in these Diaries (for Kafka as well as the reader) as there is in his novels and collected short stories. In fact, it seems that much of his writing sprung from these diaries. More than a few unpublished/unfinished stories appear in these diaries, as well as half-begun first sentences. His style is present even in personal reflections and daily remembrances. All that being said, I might not recommend these diaries as the first Kafka works to read. If you don't already have an appreciation or interest in Kafka, then you might find yourself asking "who cares?", that is, unless you are a fan of reading diaries in general.
At first they start off as slow reading, either because you are unaccustomed to reading them or because what he writes about is not as interesting (it is hard to tell from a first time reading) but once you get half way through 1911 or 1912 you should find yourself much more absorbed. It becomes much easier to understand what he is saying and to put them into context. If you are already a big fan of Kafka and have read many of his works, then this is strongly recommended. If you are a writer and fan of Kafka then you may find even more inspiration in his diaries than in his fiction.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Mar 1997
Format: Paperback
Kafka left instructions with Max Brod to burn all of these journals. Max, however, believed they were too important to be lost and devoted himself to organizing the diaries for publication.
Kafka made his entries in a manner convenient for himself: starting at the back, writing upside down, changing journals daily. All of this made the task of organizing them very difficult. Max Brod did a tremendous job and only misjudged the placement of a handful of entries.
The diaries themselves contain a lot of things no writer would want seen. They are fragments, drafts, and sketches he worked on during the nights. Most are not very good--as they are. Their value comes in the later, published, incarnations. These writings give us a little insight into the way Franz Kafka worked. Several of the entries are worked and reworked over a period of years. They show subtle shifts in Kafka's insight, perspective, and craftsmanship.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. C. Rocha on 22 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
You tired of reading interpretations on kafka's work, this is the best place you could be. Though sometimes reading series of life events is boring, like his goings to theatre and musicals and his critics of the actors; you also stumble on many insights on his family - social life and psychology.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
I am now in love with Franz Kafka 26 July 2005
By Sophia Montesquieu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The diaries reveal that Kafka was not only the one-dimensional character of the disturbed, alienated, and melancholic man that contemporary literary analysis presents him as, but a person with a complexity of feeling, humor, and distinct moments of happiness and joy.

The segment where he vacillates, through an organized list, as to whether he should marry his fiancé or not I found most enjoyable, and it is also fascinating to watch the diaries darken as Kafka ages, and to long for the unfinished fragments of stories and the gaps in narrative as he struggles against tuberculosis.

History claims that he was the prophetic bearer of images of totalitarianism and social suppression, but it is often forgotten that Kafka was also an ordinary man leading a rather ordinary, if not emotionally tempestuous, life.

These diaries are indispensable in understanding the underlying philosophy and thought behind his literary works, and in coming to know more intimately the author who created them, rather than relying upon a preconceived notion of Kafka as an isolated, miserable apparition.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
An invaluable resource for anyone studying Kafka. 1 Mar 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Kafka left instructions with Max Brod to burn all of these journals. Max, however, believed they were too important to be lost and devoted himself to organizing the diaries for publication.
Kafka made his entries in a manner convenient for himself: starting at the back, writing upside down, changing journals daily. All of this made the task of organizing them very difficult. Max Brod did a tremendous job and only misjudged the placement of a handful of entries.
The diaries themselves contain a lot of things no writer would want seen. They are fragments, drafts, and sketches he worked on during the nights. Most are not very good--as they are. Their value comes in the later, published, incarnations. These writings give us a little insight into the way Franz Kafka worked. Several of the entries are worked and reworked over a period of years. They show subtle shifts in Kafka's insight, perspective, and craftsmanship.
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A Writer's Writer 15 Oct 2006
By C. Middleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Franz Kafka's diaries were never meant to be published. Yet his diaries are spread across the internet, the actual published diaries translated into many languages and countless printings. These dairies are very personal, and the gentle Prague Jew would certainly be appalled.

Why do we continue to find these writings so fascinating?

Well, simply, they're terribly honest. Kafka never meant for these diary entries to be published, let alone read by another person. For those interested in the mechanics and soul of writing, Kafka's diaries are a source of true wonder. A confessional of a gentle soul, a man trapped in an insurance job, staying up through the night writing his heart-out, his thoughts, pains and acute observations of a time on the brink of great and terrible change, the death and cruelty of two world wars.

When reading Kafka, there is an overwhelming darkness, loneliness, a strong shadow that continually hovered around him, a "something" he tried to rid himself of through intense self reflection, which the reader of these diaries will discover.

Kafka's life story is, for the most part, a tragedy. A painful experience as one, sometimes, can feel his self consciousness, that subtle pain at the back of the neck, when, you know, you're being stared at...and his continued bad health.

I've attempted to read Kafka's diaries many times, and only now, for some reason, can withstand the pain of his perceptions, his precarious relationship with his father, and the few women he loved and the true love he never married.

Kafka is a man that loved writing for writing's sake, an artist who experimented daily, till dawn most nights, to pick up his little brief case and begin his work as an insurance lawyer in a semi-official insurance institute.

A strange yet moving entry:

21 February 1911

I live my life here as if I were entirely certain of a second life, as if for example I had entirely gotten over the failed time spent in Paris, since I will strive to return soon. Connected to this, the sight of the sharply divided light and shadow on the street paving.

For a moment I felt myself covered in armour.

How distant, for example, are the muscles of my arms

Kafka's writing was for the act itself without pretension or grandious dreams, (though his success during his 40 year lifetime was no disappointment) an act of instinct, pure and natural. Kafka is the true writer's writer.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful. 10 Jun 2004
By Lisa Burke - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I Loved reading this book. I hope not to offend others who don't share my opinion in this, but I found the beginning to be a bit slow to get my attention. But as I kept with it, I was completely taken by Kafka, in a much more personal way than I have been in reading his books and short stories. He comes across so sensitive and loveable, even with all his faults. There's a paragraph in there about how he respects the maid [I think] and so when he finds her to ask for his heat to be raised, he doesn't ask her to raise it because she is in the middle of washing a floor and thought she might not want him to see her in such a way. That just made me want to fly back in time and tell him what a sweet, kind man he was, and how he shouldn't have been so hard on himself.
I'm sure that men aren't looking for that in a book, but I'm sure there's something in there for you too!
He just comes across as such a darling...the translation is terrific, and really brings out the beauty of his writing. The beginnings and snippets of the stories are also great; unfortunately you want to know how they end, but you aren't afforded that luxury!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic insight into this man's life 20 Nov 2012
By Eric C. Darsow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is one that I pick at after I read a particularly nice short story by Kafka. Of course, since these are his diaries, these are not plot driven. But plots are not the only reason one might read a text. These are his raw insights that he never thought would be read by other humans. He had given explicit instructions to his closest friend to have his diaries and several of his unfinished manuscripts destroyed after his death. Now, realistically, if he actually wanted them destroyed, he would have done so himself--so this leaves one to speculate. Regardless, the entries provide a remarkable insight into the mind of a man who lived a very dreary life and experienced mostly angst and sorrow.
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