Prufrock's Page

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Reading Kafka

Norman Sherry famously spent years tracking down everything Graham Greene did and said to produce his biography of the author. Now, it looks like Franz Kafka may have found a similar biographer: Reiner Stach. Reviewing the first of his proposed three-volume life, Marco Roth concludes:

"One could credit Stach with a bold anti-interpretative stance if he weren't so aware of having missed the figure of Kafka among all the ruins of his life. Here is a definitive biographer who at least has the odd grace to acknowledge his own predicament. 'A profusion of data can obscure our view, have a mind-numbing effect and stifle new ideas,' he writes. 'Consider that Walter Benjamin's extraordinary sketches about Kafka were written without any knowledge of the particulars of Kafka's life.' Sometimes it's better to love a writer than to know him."


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