This gripping biography of the great Czech novelist, diarist and short story writer chronicles Kafka's entire (if tragically curtailed) life (1883-1924), but it focuses upon the writer's relationship to his father and his inheritance as a member of the Jewish mercantile bourgeoisie in Prague. Born into a German-speaking Jewish family, Kafka was a subject of the Austro-Hungarian empire until 1919 yet through his work he is one of the most modern of writers. While previous works have concentrated on Kafka and his women, Nicholas Murray will concentrate on his extraordinary relationship with his father which found its most eloquent literary expression in the story 'The Judgement' written in 1912 when Kafka was twenty-nine:in a reverse Oedipal move, the father condemns his son to death by drowning. This work is essential for an understanding of the intensely private and complex Kafka and the kind of writer he turned out to be - the creator in THE CASTLE, THE TRIAL and METAMORPHOSIS (the dazzling short story whose hero wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant insect) of some of the defining literature of the 20th century.
Nicholas Murray is the acclaimed biographer of Victorian poet and critic MATTHEW ARNOLD (Hodder), ANDREW MARVELL and ALDOUS HUXLEY.