This is one title in a series of short, illustrated biographies suitab le for students and the general reader. They tell the stories of those who have shaped our present and our past, from Beethoven to Dietrich, and from Einstein to Churchill. Franz Kafka (1883-1924) gave his name to a central facet of modern experience - the "Kafkaesque" - and created some of the most memorable images in 20th-century literature. This biography quotes extensively from Kafka's letters and diaries to dig deep into his troubled psyche. The author of "Metamorphosis" and "The Trial" is best understood, it argues, in terms of an inner tension between the attractions of the world and his ruthless desire for solitude and isolation. It was this tension that gave his writing its uncanny quality and that haunted his intense, unresolved relationships with women. The result was writing which, according to Albert Camus, takes us "to the limits of human thought".