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Code: Leterbabait

Letter to His Father
[Kafka Franz]

Letter to His Father
Franz Kafka wrote this letter to his father Hermann in 1919, when he was about thirty-six years old. His father's opposition to his planned marriage to Julie Wohryzeck (this was Franz’s second attempt at marriage; previously he had approached Felice Bauer) may have prompted Kafka to write such an epistle. The letter is about one hundred pages long, was partly typed and partly handwritten. His mother intercepted the letter and never gave it to her husband. It was first published in 1952.
Kafka had a textual mind and a tormented personality. And his highly analytical thinking communicated better through letters. He wrote many. I read years ago his Letters to Milena: Expanded and Revised, in a New Translation which left in me a strong impression. Those letters were not intended for me either. But the fact that Milena Jesenska had read them and replied to them confers to this correspondence a quality of communion that is entirely missing from the paternal letter. Kafka actually gave it to Milena later, in 1920, after the mother had returned it. Rather than a communion there is an open accusation to the father; the bitter repproach is mixed with an afflicted confession. It enacts the confrontation of two opposite personalities. The father, Hermann, originally from the petite bourgeoisie, had risen up in society thanks to his determination and strength of character. He is portrayed as tyrannical, proud, competitive, unsophisticated and rough. In contrast Kafka characterizes himself as a profoundly insecure, weak, timorous and also capable of malice and rancour.
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