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Letter to His Father (1919)

by Franz Kafka

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1,3122111,009 (3.77)12
One of the most astonishing and revelatory pieces of writing ever produced by this twentieth-century literary icon, presented in both the original German and the English translation.

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» See also 12 mentions

English (10)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Italian (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
The genius of Kafka: he writes a letter to his father. His father comes across as a horrific human being. At the end of the letter, Kafka imagines his father's response--and it's just as convincing as Kafka's accusations. Nobody is innocent before the law. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
This was an eloquent, and detailed, letter from Franz Kafka to his father. Through it, you are able to see the man behind the works that he is most known for. The depiction is sharp, and Kafka does not try to disguise himself (even with the fear of his father being present- a concept that comes up several times in his letter) in his rendition. It is a deep letter and one that now, having read it, feel that I have a slightly larger glimpse of the man behind the letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages that compose his oeuvre of work.

3.5 stars- worth it. ( )
  DanielSTJ | Jul 18, 2019 |
"Dearest Father" is the English language title given to Kafka's "Brief an der Vater". It is the pronged (86 page) open letter Kafka wrote to his father -- one that was never sent -- a lacerating account that he wrote as a grown man in his 30s in an attempt to... To what? Establish some sort of relationship with his father, as he avers? (impossible, given the tone of the letter). Or to vent his spleen over the lifelong suffering to which he feels he's been subject? It is a difficult work to read, and despite Franz' frequent attempts at fairness (and his descriptions of what he claims that his father will say in response to this or that point), its criticisms are merciless, often bitter, and sometimes downright nasty. He seems to recall every (alleged) slight, every point of disagreement, every conflict, not tempered by a mature perspective . Little wonder that when he gave it to his mother to pass along, that she returned it to Franz, as something his father should never see. Little wonder too that Kafka never was able to assume a fully adult role, if he always felt so overpowered by the domineering figure of his father.

Astute readers will realize that they are hearing but a small part of the story. After all, this is the same Franz Kafka was so irresponsible in refusing to help oversee the asbestos factory he urged his father to purchase, and who managed to string along his long-suffering fiancé for 5 years, because he couldn't bring himself to marry, in part because the idea of having a sexual relationship with someone other than a prostitute or shopgirl was repugnant.

Numerous works have subjected "Brief an der Vater" to detailed analysis, and those with Freudian inclinations have found much fodder for their interpretations. (One critic in fact argues that Franz never intended his father to see the letter -- that he sought to use it to win over his mother). In any case, readers who want to understand Franz Kafka ought to read this work, though they (like many a reader before them) may well not quite know how to view it.

The OneWorld Classics edition that I have read (translated by Hannah and Richard Stokes) also contains extracts from Kafka's diaries and letters, as well as a useful introduction to the work. ( )
1 vote danielx | Feb 20, 2019 |
Seminal existential reading and compulsory for additional insight into all of Kafka's works. The embodiment of the term Kafka-esque is never so poignant and moving as in this body of text. ( )
  Kevin_White | Feb 17, 2019 |
Commovente. Emozionante. Coinvolgente. Complesso. Annidato.Reale. ( )
  AlessandraEtFabio | Dec 22, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (69 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kafka, Franzprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chiusano, Italo AlighieroForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crnković, ZlatkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eisner, PavelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eisnerová, DagmarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Formosa, FeliuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hofbauer, IgorIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaiser, ErnstTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Obran, ZvonimirAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ricci, FrancescaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torrents, RicardAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilkins, EithneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Predragi oče, nedavno si me jednom prilikom upitao zašto ja tvrdim da osjećam strah pred tobom?
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One of the most astonishing and revelatory pieces of writing ever produced by this twentieth-century literary icon, presented in both the original German and the English translation.

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Pagine di profonda commozione, una lunga, intensa e drammatica confessione in cui l’uomo e lo scrittore si trovano indissolubilmente uniti di fronte alla figura del padre, troppo a lungo temuta e fuggita. È il tentativo disperato e doloroso di risalire alle origini di un rapporto difficile e profondamente conflittuale con l’autorità paterna, cieca di fronte alle esigenze di un animo particolarmente sensibile, che ha scelto di vivere appartato e in silenzio seguendo esclusivamente la propria natura e una inclinazione eminentemente letteraria. Quasi a volersi riappropriare di tutte le ragioni sentite e abbandonate nell’angolo più intimo e segreto di se stesso, quasi a volere recuperare per un ultimo, definitivo chiarimento le parole non dette e tutti i più remoti motivi della propria angoscia, Kafka ritorna in queste splendide pagine al suo fanciullesco sentire, a una giovinezza tormentata, a un padre lontano, inaccessibile, ostile, che non l’ha mai compreso. Segue il racconto La condanna che riprende il difficile rapporto tra padre e figlio.
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