By Lynnie Stein / April 23, 2022

Kafka Story

Franz Kafka was born in Prague, the second-largest city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1883, to a Jewish, German-speaking family. He lived and died a bachelor, to his great personal grief, having believed that founding a family was the most important thing one could do on earth.

“Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will return in another way.”

  • Often suffering from nervous exhaustion, on the verge of an imagined sickness, he realized his worst imaginings in 1917, when he suffered a blood gush from his lungs. Seven years later he died a terrible death from tuberculosis of the larynx.
  • The story goes that for many years he visited brothels, swam robustly, climbed steep hills, and rode around the countryside on a motorcycle. Apart from visiting of brothels – I love the story as this girl loves to climb a steep hill or two and do things spontaneously like climb a tree and of course her wings are the two wheel types.
  • He had other interests, including gardening and reading Platonic dialogues with friends, but also social work, especially on behalf of war refugees from Eastern Europe. He was engaged to be married twice to one woman and once to another; but for the rest was consumed by a passion for writing. It would be, he hoped, his salvation.
  • During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories, including “The Metamorphosis,” “The Judgment,” and “The Stoker.”
  • He died in 1924, before completing any of his full-length novels.
  • At the end of his life, Kafka asked his lifelong friend and literary executor Max Brod to burn all his unpublished work. Brod overrode those wishes.

  • Dearest Max,” it began. “My last request: Everything I leave behind me . . . in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others’), sketches and so on, to be burned unread.”
  • Less than two months later, Brod, disregarding Kafka’s request, signed an agreement to prepare a posthumous edition of Kafka’s unpublished novels.
  • “The Trial” came out in 1925, followed by “The Castle” (1926) and “Amerika” (1927).
  • In 1939, carrying a suitcase stuffed with Kafka’s papers, Brod set out for Palestine on the last train to leave Prague, five minutes before the Nazis closed the Czech border.
  • Thanks largely to Brod’s efforts, Kafka’s slim, enigmatic corpus was gradually recognized as one of the great monuments of 20th-century literature.
  • Kafka composed a notable number of stories from the perspective of creatures: “Investigations of a Dog”, “A Report to an Academy”, “Josephine the Singer”, “The Burrow”.

It’s as if he were saying: “You’re in the body you’re in, it makes the problems it makes, the soul cries out regardless.”


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Kafka & The Doll Story

  • The following is a wonderful story. I researched but could not find if it is true…it makes for a lovely story & I see it as a a great story to be continued. You could base it on this story and add what happened to the doll during its life with a succession of owners who did or did not love it.

At 40, Franz Kafka, was walking through a park in Berlin when he met a girl who was crying because she had lost her favourite doll.

  • She and Kafka searched for the doll unsuccessfully.
  • Kafka told her to meet him there the next day and they would continue to look for her doll.
  • The next day, when they had not yet found the doll, Kafka gave the girl a letter “written” by the doll saying “Please don’t cry. I took a trip to see the world. I will write to you about my adventures.”
  • Thus began a story which continued with each meeting.
  • During their meetings, Kafka read the doll’s letters which related her adventures and conversations that the girl found adorable.
  • Finally, Kafka brought back the doll (he bought one) that he said had returned to Berlin.
  • “It doesn’t look like my doll at all,” said the girl.
  • Kafka handed her another letter in which the doll wrote: “My travels have changed me.” The little girl hugged the new doll and with much joy, brought her home.
  • She did not meet Kafka again.
  • A year later Kafka died.
  • Many years later, the now-adult girl found a letter inside the doll.
  • In the tiny letter signed by Kafka it was written:

“Everything you love will probably be lost, but in the end, love will return in another way.”

Whether or not the story of Kafka and the doll is factually accurate, embellished, or a complete fabrication is not yet clear. Nonetheless, it continues to provide comfort and encouragement to millions, decades later, in the face of grief and loss. In her 2011 column, May Benatar described it as a “healing story,” adding that:
“For me there are two wise lessons in this story: Grief and loss are ubiquitous even for a young child. And the way toward healing is to look for how love comes back in another form.”
It could also be that the story of Kafka’s kindness and compassion provide, for the wider global audience, the same service that the letters themselves do for the little girl in the park — consolation through storytelling, regardless of accuracy. Tom Glass, the character who tells the tale in Paul Auster’s novel “The Brooklyn Follies,” describes the profound effect of the fake letters on the girl:
By that point, of course, the girl no longer misses the doll. Kafka has given her something else instead, and by the time those three weeks are up, the letters have cured her of her unhappiness. She has the story, and when a person is lucky enough to live inside a story, to live inside an imaginary world, the pains of this world disappear.
For as long as the story goes on, reality no longer exists.

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© 2022 Lynnie Stein