2003 biography of Kafka's partner, by Kathi DiamantThe Observer:
The women in Franz Kafka's life were many and adoring but Kafka found it hard to sustain affairs. One of his sweethearts, the Berlin businesswoman Felice Bauer, announced: 'My Franz was a saint', yet he jilted her twice. Margarethe Bloch was another who fell for the Czech author. Bloch claimed to have borne his child though Kafka's distaste for the physical world apparently inhibited sex. Fleeing anti-semitic Germany, Fraulein Bloch was arrested outside Rome in April 1944 and deported to Auschwitz.
Kafka's work, with its nightmarish presumption of guilt, foreshadowed the Hitlerite terror. He was born to a Jewish family in Prague, and all three of his sisters were murdered by the Nazis, victims of the grotesque bureaucracy foretold by their brother two decades earlier in The Trial. 'Maybe Kafka laughed with his friends in the beer hall,' Primo Levi despaired on translating that novel into Italian, 'but he did not laugh when he wrote.' As a writer, Kafka chose to live alone and in the prophetic dark. [Read More]
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