Born: 3 July 1883
Died: 3 June 1924
Franz Kafka was a German-language writer of novels and short stories. Kafka is regarded by critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century with his original thought and unique ideas. Most of his works, such as Die Verwandlung (The Metamorphosis), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle), are filled with the themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent–child conflict, characters on a terrifying quest, labyrinths of bureaucracy, and mystical transformations.
After completing his legal education, he obtained employment with an insurance company. Kafka began to write short stories in his spare time. For the rest of his life, he complained about the little time he had to devote to what he came to regard as his calling. Kafka preferred to communicate by letter; he wrote hundreds of letters to family and close female friends. Recipients included his father, his fiancée Felice Bauer, and his youngest sister Ottla.
Only a few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime: the story collections Betrachtung (Contemplation) and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor). He prepared the story collection Ein Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist) for print, but it was not published until after his death. Kafka's unfinished works, including his novels Der Process, Das Schloss and Amerika (also known as Der Verschollene/ The Man Who Disappeared), were published posthumously, mostly by his friend Max Brod, who ignored Kafka's wish to have the manuscripts destroyed. Albert Camus, Gabriel García Márquez and Jean-Paul Sartre are among some of the writers influenced by Kafka's work; the term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe existential situations like those in his writing.