Franz Kafka is undoubtedly one of the most impactful authors of the 20th century. Kafka’s place in the literary pantheon has been assured till date, most pleasingly expressed by George Steiner’s suggestion that he is the only author to whom it may be said that he made his own a letter of the alphabet – K. His writings were so unique that his style got a special tag which is known as “Kafkaesque”.The term ‘Kafkaesque’ as a style is seen by many as a synonym for “Surreal”. His stories are strikingly strange, which symbolise and signify absurdity of life. He delves deep into the psychological layers of the character and characterises the bizarre side of one’s imagination & thinking. He enjoyed playing with metaphors and his expression was metaphorical in articulation. Though his points were simple and straight but it was complex and critical to deciphering.
Sometimes we’re embarrassed or simply we don’t know how to explain it, but the feeling that you’re about to fall asleep isn’t so much marked by a sense of ‘drifting’, as it is in the abstract thought process.When you are lying there, sometimes you out of nowhere become aware of a bizarre cognition involuntarily, a sort-of pre-sleep dream. For many of us, it will come as a comfort, a reassurance that sleep’s soft embrace is imminent. But for Franz Kafka, it was an inspiration to write.In his diaries, he wrote:” “…again it was the power of my dreams, shining forth into wakefulness even before I fall asleep, which did not let me sleep.” Kafka’s insomnia was the main reason of hypnagogic hallucination, a vivid visual hallucination experienced just before the sleep onset.
He said of the experience, “.. how easily everything can be said as if a great fire had been prepared for all these things in which the strangest thoughts emerge and again disappear.”Of his own role in the process, he remarked, “all I possess are certain powers which, at a depth almost inaccessible at normal conditions, shape themselves into
literature.”Feeling more creative and inspired in the middle of the night than in the morning is something I’m sure many can relate to.”Kafka himself affirmed that writing in a sleep-deprived state provides access to otherwise inaccessible thoughts.”
Kafka is best known for his short story novel ‘The Metamorphosis'(German: Die
Verwandlung), which is regarded as the one of the best work in all literary fiction.It was published in 1915 in the small german magazine.Sleep and lack thereof is, of course, a central theme in Kafka’s best-known work, ‘The Metamorphosis’, and plays on protagonist Gregor’s mind. It seems there was a strong dose of autobiography at play.It told the story of Gregor Samsa, a salesman who wakes up one morning to find that he has turned into an enormous bug.The main theme or idea behind writing about an insect was that he imagined his body moving around in the world while his true writing self-remained behind in the form of a beautiful beetle, which was in regard to the time when he held on his idealism with regard to the writing process.
Though this image changed drastically when he published,’The Judgement'(The most autobiographical story ever in my opinion) Kafka wrote in his diary that when writing flowed smoothly, that is the true way to write, with “A complete opening out of the body and soul” in his words.But when Kafka read the story later, he was disappointed.As
if, he thought he had let out the story in a perfect form but later he realised that it was covered with “filth and slime”.
He said writing, when it springs from within, is like giving birth, and the child is covered in mucus. The insect, Kafka’s metaphor for his writing self-removed from the everyday world, was no longer a beautiful thing, but a repulsive and filthy one. This is exactly the image he gave us in ‘The Metamorphosis’.
Franz Kafka imagined strange fictional space in which his characters attempt to make sense of a frightening world. Kafka’s writing style seems straightforward, but it depicts and describes the multitude philosophy and irrationality of life.It’s not easy to decipher or understand Kafka’s stories in single read sometimes, it needs to be re -read to decipher the deeper meaning hidden in a wonderful choice of metaphors and combinations of ironic statements.This is why you should totally add Franz Kafka’s works to your read list.