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Everybody knows the face of Franz Kafka, whether they have read any of his works or not. And that brooding face carries instant images: bleak and threatening visions of an inescapable bureaucracy, nightmarish transformations, uncanny predictions of the Holocaust. But while Kafka’s genius is beyond question, the image of a mysterious, sickly, shadowy figure who was scarcely known in his own lifetime bears no resemblance to the historical reality. Franz Kafka was a popular and well-connected millionaire’s son who enjoyed good-time girls, brothels, and expensive porn, who landed a highly desirable state job that pulled in at least $90,000 a year in today’s dollars for a six-hour day, who remained a loyal member of Prague’s German-speaking Imperial elite right to the end, and whose work was backed by a powerful literary clique.
Here are some of the prevalent Kafka myths:
*Kafka was the archetypal genius neglected in his lifetime.
*Kafka was lonely.
*Kafka was stuck in a dead-end job, struggling to find time to write.
*Kafka was tormented by fear of sex.
*Kafka was unbendingly honest about himself to the women in his life – too honest.
*Kafka had a terrible, domineering father who had no understanding of his son’s needs.
*Kafka’s style is mysterious and opaque.
*Kafka takes us into bizarre worlds.
James Hawes wants to tear down the critical walls which generations of gatekeepers---scholars, biographers, and tourist guides---have built up around Franz Kafka, giving us back the real man and the real significance of his splendid works. And he'll take no prisoners in the process.