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What kind of funny is he?

Rivka Galchen: Under Kafka’s Spell, 4 December 2014

Kafka: The Years of Insight 
by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch.
Princeton, 682 pp., £24.95, June 2013, 978 0 691 14751 2
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Kafka: The Decisive Years 
by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch.
Princeton, 552 pp., £16.25, June 2013, 978 0 691 14741 3
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... the enemy lines. What constitutes the life of Kafka, at least the enduringly legible parts of it? Reiner Stach has written a chronological biography of nearly two thousand pages, all three volumes of which are out in German, with the second and third already translated into English by Shelley Frisch. (The first volume, covering Kafka’s youth, was ...

In the Nightmare Kitchen

Rivka Galchen: Kafka’s Boyhood, 16 March 2017

Kafka: The Early Years 
by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch.
Princeton, 564 pp., £27.95, November 2016, 978 0 691 15198 4
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... to handle 15 cheap Parker pens.’Children are mostly wrong, but also superior to us. Reading Reiner Stach’s Kafka: The Early Years, I found myself thinking often of Sendak. Maybe this is only because I read too many children’s books too many times, and such rereading makes Kabbalah from anything. Or maybe, more tendentiously, because Sendak and ...

On Being Left Out

Adam Phillips: On FOMO, 20 May 2021

... an Olympic swimming medal when you can’t even swim. ‘A great swimmer,’ Kafka’s biographer Reiner Stach says, ‘in Kafka’s imagery was a term of the highest regard.’ And terms of the highest regard are – for Kafka as for Freud – always ironised. We are always left out, especially when we seem to be included. ‘There is hope,’ Kafka ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust, 19 July 2018

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... thousand pages. Kafka, who barely reached the age of forty, yielded only five hundred fewer from Reiner Stach. Proust, expiring at 51, got just under a thousand apiece from Jean-Yves Tadié and William Carter; Joyce, at 59, eight hundred from Richard Ellmann. Moving down the scale to medium or lightweights, there is little reduction in size. If we ...

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