Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka[a] (3 July 1883 3 June 1924) was a German-speaking Bohemian Jewish novelist and short story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work, which fuses elements of realism and the fantastic, typically features isolated protagonists faced by bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible social-bureaucratic powers, and has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. His best known works include "Die Verwandlung" ("The Metamorphosis"), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those in his writing.
Few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime: the story collections Betrachtung (Contemplation) and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), and individual stories (such as "Die Verwandlung") were published in literary magazines but received little public attention. Kafka's unfinished works, including his novels Der Process, Das Schloss and Der Verschollene (translated as both Amerika and The Man Who Disappeared), were ordered by Kafka to be destroyed by his friend Max Brod, who nonetheless ignored his friend's direction and published them after Kafka's death. His work went on to influence a vast range of writers, critics, artists, and philosophers during the 20th century.
Kafka feared that people would find him mentally and physically repulsive. However, those who met him found him to possess a quiet and cool demeanor, obvious intelligence, and a dry sense of humour; they also found him boyishly handsome, although of austere appearance. Brod compared Kafka to Heinrich von Kleist, noting that both writers had the ability to describe a situation realistically with precise details. Brod thought Kafka was one of the most entertaining people he had met; Kafka enjoyed sharing humour with his friends, but also helped them in difficult situations with good advice. According to Brod, he was a passionate reciter, who was able to phrase his speaking as if it were music. Brod felt that two of Kafka's most distinguishing traits were "absolute truthfulness" (absolute Wahrhaftigkeit) and "precise conscientiousness" (przise Gewissenhaftigkeit). He explored details, the inconspicuous, in depth and with such love and precision that things surfaced that were unforeseen, seemingly strange, but absolutely true (nichts als wahr).