Kafka (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Originally published in Great Britain under the title K: A Biography (1981), Ronald Hayman’s concise, artistically restrained, and moving study offers many pleasures and at least two surprises: that the author’s knowledge of Franz Kafka is far more detailed, more exhaustive than one would have believed possible; and that his interpretation of the life, not at all ambiguous or tentative, is unified and wholly convincing. For those whose recollections of biographical evidence are limited to the early studies, primarily by Max Brod, Kafka’s friend and literary executor, Hayman’s book is a revelation. To be sure, since Brod’s biographical and critical studies were published, much more information has become available concerning Felice Bauer, Grete Bloch, Dora Dymant, and Milena Jesenská-Polaková, the love interests in Kafka’s life—mostly through correspondence. The general reader, however, would have little reason to expect the wealth of information that Hayman has patiently gathered. Even though Kafka was not, at the time of his death in 1924, entirely obscure as a literary figure, he was assuredly not the subject of considerable attention, either. Given the historical circumstances—the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939 by German armies, the resulting Holocaust, and the eventual establishment of a Communist satellite government—one might doubt the survival of any archives or additional scraps of information concerning Kafka’s family...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1983)
Choice. XIX, May, 1982, p. 1246.
Christian Science Monitor. April 9, 1982, p. B6.
German Quarterly. LVI, January, 1983, p. 168.
Library Journal. CVII, March 15, 1982, p. 631.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVII, January 17, 1982, p. 1.
Newsweek. XCIX, February 1, 1982, p. 65.
The Sewanee Review. XC, October, 1982, p. 583.
Times Literary Supplement. February 5, 1982, p. 139.
World Literature Today. LVI, Summer, 1982, p. 510.
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