Shattered K.

A cage went in search of a bird

For a fellow who wanted most of his work destroyed, Kafka has done quite well attracting the attention of critics, biographers, commentators, and the occasional hangers-on. The follow section is an evolving work-in-progress, an attempt to collect and briefly review the bulk of Kafka criticism and biography. These sections will be fleshed out throughout 2004 – consider all the boldface headings below as “under development.” We welcome all comments and suggestions, and will gladly accept new books for review: email us.
Please note that that this page also contains a “Quick Reference Card” of all the titles to be eventually featured in this section. They are listed alphabetically by author; in the actual sections, books are listed chronologically by publishing date.

Go To:

Criticism Guide – A friendly guide to the vast world of Kafka criticism.

Biography – Kafka’s life and times, as well as conversations and anecdotes.

Family and Friends – Biographies focusing on Kafka’s family, friends, lovers, or relationships.

Introductions – Introductions to Kafka’s work, intended for the beginner.

General Criticism 1 – General literary criticism or commentary on Kafka and his writing up until 1979.

General Criticism 2 – General literary criticism or commentary on Kafka and his writing from 1980 to the present.

Short Works – Guides and criticism focusing on his short stories, novellas, and aphorisms.

Novels – Guides and criticism about his three novels: Amerika, The Trial and The Castle.

Contextual Criticism – Kafka criticism with a specific angle: existential, psychological, Jewish, nationalist, feminist, queer, etc.

Comparative Criticism – Studies of Kafka in context with other authors or artists.

Influence – Critiques of writing, art, and culture after Kafka.

Quick Reference Card

Bauer, Johann. Kafka and Prague
Brod, Max. Franz Kafka: A Biography
Citati, Pietro. Kafka
Hayman, Ronald. Kafka: A Biography
Janouch, Gustav. Conversations with Kafka
Karl, Frederick R. Franz Kafka: Representative Man
Mailloux, Peter. A Hesitation Before Birth: The Life of Franz Kafka
Pawel, Ernst. The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka

Friends and Family
Buber-Neumann, Margarete. Milena
Diamant, Kathi. Kafka’s Last Love
Glatzer, Nahum N. The Loves of Franz Kafka
Northey, Anthony. Kafka’s Relatives

Coots, Steve. Kafka: A Beginner’s Guide
Flores, Angel, ed. Explain to Me Some Stories of Kafka
Mairowitz, David Zane and Robert Crumb. Introducing Kafka

General Criticism 1 (1946-79)
Anders, Gunther. Franz Kafka
Emrich, Wilhelm. Franz Kafka: A Critical Study of His Writings
Flores, Angel, ed. The Kafka Problem
Flores, Angel and Swander, Homer, eds. Franz Kafka Today
Flores, Angel, ed. The Kafka Debate: New Perspectives for Our Time
Gray, Ronald, ed. Kafka: A Collection of Critical Essays
Greenberg, Martin. Kafka: The Terror of Art
Heller, Erich. Franz Kafka
Kundera, Milan. Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts
Neider, Charles. The Frozen Sea: A Study of Franz Kafka
Politzer, Heinz. Franz Kafka: Parable and Paradox
Sokel, Walter H. Franz Kafka
Sussman, Henry. Franz Kafka: Geometrician of Metaphor
Tauber, Herbert. Franz Kafka: An Interpretation of His Works

General Criticism 2 (1980-Present)
Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: Franz Kafka
Corngold, Stanley. Franz Kafka: The Necessity of Form
Hughes, Kenneth, ed. Franz Kafka: An Anthology of Marxist Criticism
Kundera, Milan. Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts
Rolleston, James, ed. A Companion to the Works of Franz Kafka
Sokel, Walter H. The Myth of Power and the Self: Essays on Franz Kafka

Short Works

Fickert, Kurt. End of a Mission: Kafka’s Search for Truth in His Last Stories
Kempf, Franz R. Everyone’s Darling: Kafka and the Critics of His Short Fiction
Thiher, Allen. Franz Kafka: A Study of the Short Fiction

“The Metamorphosis”
Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Interpretations: The Metamorphosis
Corngold, Stanley, ed. and trans. The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka
Corngold, Stanley, ed. The Commentator’s Despair: The Interpretation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis
Nabokov, Vladimir. “The Metamorphosis.” In Lectures on Literature

Aphorisms, etc.
Gray, Richard T. Constructive Destruction: Kafka’s Aphorisms: Literary Tradition and Literary Transformation


The Trial
Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Interpretations: The Trial
Jaffe, Adrian. The Process of Kafka’s Trial
Rhein, Phillip H. The Urge to Live
Rolleston, James, ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Trial
Sussman, Henry. The Trial: Kafka’s Unholy Trinity

The Castle
Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Interpretations: The Castle
Dowden, Stephen D. Kafka’s Castle and the Critical Imagination
Neumeyer, Peter F., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Castle

Contextual Criticism
Beck, Evelyn Torton. Kafka and the Yiddish Theater: Its Effect on his Work
Heidsieck, Arnold. The Intellectual Contexts of Kafka’s Fiction: Philosophy, Law, Religion
Hughes, Kenneth, ed. Franz Kafka: An Anthology of Marxist Criticism
Wagenbach, Klaus. Kafka’s Prague: A Travel Reader
Zischler, Hanns. Kafka Goes to the Movies

Comparative Criticism
Bernheimer, Charles. Flaubert and Kafka: Studies in Psychopoetic Structure
Dodd, W.J.. Kafka & Dostoyevsky: The Shaping of Influence
Friedman, Maurice. Problematic Rebel: Melville, Dostoievesky, Kafka, Camus
Greenberg, Valerie D. Transgressive Readings: The Texts of Franz Kafka and Max Planck
Hubben, William. Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Kafka: Four Prophets of Our Destiny
Robert, Marthe. The Old and the New: From Don Quixote to Kafka
Russell, Francis. Three Studies in Twentieth Century Obscurity
Schur, David. The Way of Oblivion: Heraclitus and Kafka
Spilka, Mark. Dickens and Kafka: a Mutual Interpretation
Suchoff, David. Critical Theory and the Novel: Mass Society and Cultural Criticism in Dickens, James, and Kafka
Tambling, Jeremy. Lost in the American City: Dickens, James, and Kafka
Wilk, Melvin. Jewish Presence in T.S. Eliot and Franz Kafka

Sandbank, Shimon. After Kafka: The Influence of Kafka’s Fiction
Whitlark, James. Behind the Great Wall: A Post-Jungian Approach to Kafkaesque Literature

–Jeff Nowak
& Allen B. Ruch
14 January 2004

These letters do nothing but cause anguish, and if they don’t cause any anguish it’s even worse – Send email to Das Schloss’ Jeff Nowak and the Great Quail – comments, suggestions, corrections, criticisms, submissions . . . all are welcome!

Spiral-Bound – Click here for information about Spiral-Bound, The Modern Word's monthly electronic newsletter. From this page you can read about Spiral-Bound, browse archived past editions, sign up for the Spiral-Bound e-group, and subscribe to the newsletter itself.