1. Why You Might Be Perplexed; 2. A Short Life of Franz K.; 3. A Survey of Kafka's Literary Estate; 4. The Stories and Fragments; 5. The Novels; Bibliography: Suggested Further Reading; Index.
Clayton Koelb is the Guy B. Johnson Professor of German and Comparative Literature and Chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.
'This is a marvellous book, presenting Franz Kafka's life in vivid detail [as much detail as has emerged] and integrating readings of his texts with this living dynamic. Koelb contends that Kafka offers us a "warehouse of writing," with no one kind of text fully autonomous: the fiction, the diaries, the letters, the office writings . . . Kafka himself was of course a convinced modernist "I am nothing but literature," he wrote in his diary and we have inherited that conviction from his friend and editor, Max Brod. But there is so much to be gained from a post-modernist weaving of fiction into life. Even as he deftly annotates some of the famous stories and never-completed novels, Koelb is happy to leave macro-thinking to new and excited readers. Only if they are Perplexed is he offering a Guide. And yet: no one should miss the inspired single-page analysis of "A Country Doctor."--Sanford Lakoff