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This is a study of Kafka’s tragic vision of life, his profoundly disturbing awareness of man’s utter loneliness in a pitiless universe, and his artistry in effecting a strange intimate fusion between symbolism and realism—between anguished poetic narration and the terrifying reality of an absurd and ambiguous environment. The book discusses the historical setting, the literary currents, and the personal details affecting the development of Kafka’s genius: his isolation in a labyrinthine universe; his sufferings, sickness and death; his influence and survival through his art. The central idea of the book is summed up in a quotation from Jean-Paul Sartre: “I have nothing to say about Kafka except that he is one of the rarest and greatest writers of our time.” The authors are specialists in contemporary literature.
Translated from the French by Wade Baskin.