The Kafka’s Letters Crisis: All That’s Missing is Baby-Daddy Drama and a Reality Show

It’s certainly been an interesting year for Franz Kafka.  Here at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, we’ve seen Gregor Samsa’s tortured existence used as an icon for religious propaganda pamphlets, Nabakov’s line edits and bug doodles upon Kafka’s infamous Metamorphosis, and the “new” information that reading Kafka’s surrealism causes us to learn better, and be smarter.

While it may be a leap to label the story “Kafka-esque” (although understandably tempting)–it’s more like a storyline for a daytime television show–there’s certainly lots of drama centered around the final papers of the existential-absurd-surreal modernist.

It’s well known that Kafka asked his friend Max Brod to destroy all of his remaining work.  As is even better known, if you really want your work posthumously set aflame, you must do it yourself. (How, you ask?  I don’t know.  Avoid death.)  Naturally, Brod released some of Kafka’s papers, although not all.  Before dying in 1968, he left the rest of the work to another lady, Esther Hoffe, who very well should have given them up.  She didn’t.  Then she died.  Her daughter was being greedy and auctioning off the works to who-the-Hell-knows, and now she’s being taken to court by the Israel National Library.  You can find the entire melodrama detailed at Spiegal International.