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Is that Kafka?: 99 Finds (2012)

de Reiner Stach

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935293,240 (4.1)2
In the course of compiling his highly acclaimed three-volume biography of Kafka, while foraying to libraries and archives from Prague to Israel, Reiner Stach made one astounding discovery after another: unexpected photographs, inconsistencies in handwritten texts, excerpts from letters, and testimonies from Kafka's contemporaries that shed surprising light on his personality and his writing. Is That Kafka? presents the crystal granules of the real Kafka: he couldn't lie, but he tried to cheat on his high-school exams; bitten by the fitness fad, he avidly followed the regime of a Danish exercise guru; he drew beautifully; he loved beer; he read biographies voraciously; he made the most beautiful presents, especially for children; odd things made him cry or made him furious; he adored slapstick. Every discovery by Stach turns on its head the stereotypical version of the tortured neurotic--and as each one chips away at the monolithic dark Kafka, the keynote, of all things, becomes laughter. For Is That Kafka? Stach has assembled 99 of his most exciting discoveries, culling the choicest, most entertaining bits, and adding his knowledgeable commentaries. Illustrated with dozens of previously unknown images, this volume is a singular literary pleasure.… (mais)
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Exibindo 5 de 5
I really hope that coffee-table-books-about-modernist-writers becomes a profitable sub-genre, so I can go on reading pleasant books like this one. It's funny, touching, and wonderfully fanboyish; luckily, Stach knows everything (he wrote a three volume biography of Kafka, for goodness sake), so it's also informative and responsible. My only complaint is that quoted texts are presented in a sans-serif bold font. What the hell, typesetters? ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
99 weetjes, fragmenten (uit dagboeken, brieven, verhalen), anekdotes, 'tidbits' over en herinneringen aan leven en werk van Franz Kafka. Bevat veel, zoniet uitsluitend, informatie die ook elders te vinden is. ( )
  razorsoccam | Aug 23, 2019 |
This remarkable little book is an outgrowth of Reiner Stach's magisterial, 3 volume biography of Franz Kafka. It present a more accurate picture of the man that one would ever imagine existed from his fiction, much less from the endless volumes of literary analyses. The Kafka that emerges turns out to be a real person, though a very odd one, and very far from the Kafka-esque version in the public imagination.

Stach has assembled 99 “Finds” – tidbits that collectively humanize Franz Kafka by offering glimpses into his life, his personality, his experiences. Each of the short pieces takes up 1 to 5 pages, and most are accompanied by photographs, excerpts from his sketches and handwriting. Many are extracts from his diaries, letters, or other writings, and from memoirs of those who knew him. Each is accompanied by Stach’s brief explanations of their context, significance, and meaning.

The tidbits are organized into 8 major categories, listed below with examples. The first is “Idiosyncrasies” (Kafka’s Diploma; Kafka Cheats on his Exams; Kafka’s Exercise Routine; Kafka Cannot Tell a Lie; Kafka’s Favorite Song; Kafka’s Only Enemy”). Next is “Emotions” (What Makes Kafka Cry; Kafka’s No Prude; Gone Whoring; Three Letters to his Father; Kafka Doesn’t Believe the Doctors), followed by “Reading and Writing” (Kafka’s Desk; The First Postcard; Kafka Writes a Poem and Likes it; Kafka Writes in Hebrew) and then “Slapstick” (Kafka Laughs at the President; Kafka is Afraid of Mice; An Attempt to Throw Kafka in the River). Next comes “Illusions” (Kafka Falls for an April Fool’s Joke; How Kafka Almost Won a Literary Prize; How Kafka and Brod Almost Became Millionaires), and Elsewhere (“A Cat Accident in Paris; Kafka Takes the Subway; Kafka Rides the Carousel) and “Reflections” (Kafka Gets Mail from a Reader; Frank and Milena; A Love Poem for Kafka). And finally, “The End” (The Final Letter; Kafka’s Wills; The Epitaph, Milena’s Obituary).

This book’s title is reprised in two of the tidbits – photographs of crowd scenes that include a figure that might be Franz Kafka. (In both cases, I am skeptical, and cannot see much resemblance; but who knows). But in reference to the book’s contents, Stach notes in the introduction: ” It would be trivial to say that all this was Kafka. Rather, the key thing… is that that we really can recognize him in all of these unassuming fragments. What, that’s Kafka? Yes, that’s him.” ( )
2 vote danielx | Feb 16, 2019 |
Quali lacci di scarpe usava Franzili? Quale tipo di carta preferiva?Portava anelli? E gli orologi? Di quale tipo, di quale marca? ... Dormiva sul fianco? Sulla schiena? [Sulla pancia non credo] .... Preferiva i cani o i gatti? Il latte lo beveva? La lana gli prudeva? Il suo sapone preferito? Il suo profumo? .... Come baciava? Era bravo a letto? ... Aveva un metabolismo lento o veloce? Che musica ascoltava? Quali film ha visto? ...Dove andava a passeggiare? Quanto spesso? E in bagno? Quante volte al giorno?.... Il 13 ottobre 1920 alle ore 12 dov'era? Che faceva?!? ( )
  downisthenewup | Aug 17, 2017 |
Ninety-nine amusing and surprising stories about Kafka makes this collection a wonderful gift for Kafka enthusiasts who will, however, have heard a lot of them before. A German triumvirate has been mining all things Kafka for years, publishing every surviving scrap of paper, and every image remotely connected to the shy insurance clerk from Prague. ( )
  jcbrunner | Aug 31, 2012 |
Exibindo 5 de 5
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Reiner Stachautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Beals, KurtTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Carter, ErikDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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In the course of compiling his highly acclaimed three-volume biography of Kafka, while foraying to libraries and archives from Prague to Israel, Reiner Stach made one astounding discovery after another: unexpected photographs, inconsistencies in handwritten texts, excerpts from letters, and testimonies from Kafka's contemporaries that shed surprising light on his personality and his writing. Is That Kafka? presents the crystal granules of the real Kafka: he couldn't lie, but he tried to cheat on his high-school exams; bitten by the fitness fad, he avidly followed the regime of a Danish exercise guru; he drew beautifully; he loved beer; he read biographies voraciously; he made the most beautiful presents, especially for children; odd things made him cry or made him furious; he adored slapstick. Every discovery by Stach turns on its head the stereotypical version of the tortured neurotic--and as each one chips away at the monolithic dark Kafka, the keynote, of all things, becomes laughter. For Is That Kafka? Stach has assembled 99 of his most exciting discoveries, culling the choicest, most entertaining bits, and adding his knowledgeable commentaries. Illustrated with dozens of previously unknown images, this volume is a singular literary pleasure.

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