Franz Kafka: An estate risen from the dead

Mourning

The Globe and Mail published an article last week on the estate of Franz Kafka. The article deals with the literary estate of the author of several masterpieces of the 20th century. At the time of his death, Kafka asked his friend and executor, Max Brod, to destroy any of his unpublished works. Brod instead chose to publish several manuscripts, among them The Trial and Amerika. He retained several other manuscripts that ended up in safety deposit boxes in Tel Aviv and Zurich. Flash forward to 2010, and Max Brod’s heirs are in a bitter fight with the Israel National Library over who owns the manuscripts. It is currently, and ironically, the subject of a trial that is ongoing in Tel Aviv to determine ownership of Kafka’s papers. In a way, it is almost an appropriate chapter in the life of this brilliant author.

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