Franz Kafka is a Prague-born German writer of Jewish descent. This mix already tells a lot about his unique personality! Without any doubt, he is one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. We almost don't know anyone who is into literature and isn't impressed by Kafka's way of telling a story. If you didn't have a chance to enter Kafka's world yet, we'd make you check him out with these top ten reasons why Kafka's legacy is simply inevitable!
10. He Wrote More Than 50 Short Stories
If you're a fan of short stories, not reading Kafka would be a misery. Although his mainly mentioned works are novels, he's been writing short stories much more frequently. Short stories are, without any doubt, his favorite way of narration, and he managed to do it so well!
Moreover, his best work is probably a short story and not a novel! "The Metamorphosis" is, in our opinion, the brightest highlight of Kafka's legacy, with all its elements and symbolism. Other recommendations when it comes to his short stories, are "A Hunger Artist," "Description of a Struggle," "In the Penal Colony," and many, many more.
9. You Should Read More of His Novels Than "The Trial"
"The Trial" should be a must in any school and any literature program because it's one of the most essential classics of the 20th century. Nevertheless, Kafka is much more than that, and you should get to know his style further. Even better excuse to read all his novels is that he only wrote three of them, so it won't take long to do so!
Yes, it won't take you too much time to discover Kafka's novels. Furthermore, they are similar and concentrate on the same symbolism. When you don't read any of these three, it feels like a trilogy you never finished. The fun fact is that Kafka also never finished his novels "The Castle" and "Amerika / The Man Who Disappeared," but that gives them a unique sort of mysticism.
8. You See Kafka References Everywhere, Even Today
Kafka is, if you're doing some research or reading frequently, literally everywhere. Haruki Murakami, one of the most beloved 21st-century writers, wrote "Kafka on the Shore," one of his best works up to date. You should also know that if you ever visit Prague (The Czech Republic), it's all about Kafka as if he was still there.
He actually spent almost his whole life in this city, so you'll see many statues of Kafka if you ever go there. He even has his own museum, spooky and gloomy, just like his works!
7. He Makes You Think About Life
Kafka's stories are not easy to read. As Kafka requires you to stay focused and interpret it your own way, you can't be passive. After all, that's the aim of reading: it makes you think about life and see things the other way. His novel "The Trial" will, for example, make you question the justice, truth, and guilt in our society.
Its themes will undoubtedly haunt you like a ghost, and you'll feel the same after reading "The Metamorphosis," his short story. Don't be afraid if you spend the whole week thinking about Gregor Samsa's life purpose.
6. He Is One of the Most Quoted Authors Ever
"You are free, and that is why you are lost." "The meaning of life is that it stops." How Kafkaesque these sentences sound? Yes, there are all his quotes on life, death, and losing your mind. Moreover, his quotes are all over the place nowadays. That's because they showcase his unique style and state of mind that he had outside his works as well!
You can read most of Kafka's quotes on Goodreads (you can search any inspiring quotes on this platform), and we're sure some of them will leave you captivated. "A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us" is, for example, the perfect way for him to describe the world of literature!
5. He Presumably Influenced Some of Your Favorite Modernists
Kafka didn't receive the particular "fame "during his life. However, artists believe it's much more important for their works to stay alive when they are gone. With Kafka, it's definitely like that since his legacy still plays a big role! Moreover, many modernists that came after him admit that Kafka made them believe they can write the way they wanted!
Kafka impacted Jorge Luis Borges, Albert Camus, Bukowski, J. D. Salinger, Gabriel García Márquez, and many more prominent names in the era of existentialism and the philosophical theory of absurdism in general. "When I read the line from 'The Metamorphosis,' I thought to myself that I didn't know anyone was allowed to write things like that. If I had known, I would have started writing a long time ago," said Márquez about how Kafka changed his way of thinking.
4. His Personality Will Leave You Intrigued
Kafka used to be, kind of, the same as his characters. He didn't have many friends. Kafka also had issues with his family and especially his father, which influenced his fears and trauma. Unfortunately, he also had problems with his romantic relationships. In conclusion, his life was complicated and intriguing to read about.
Nevertheless, many resources claim that Kafka had this bare kindness in his soul. There are various stories about him as a loving person, even though his emotions were complex and deep. One of Kafka's most beloved stories of helping people is a touching anecdote about meeting a little girl in the park crying because she lost her doll. You'll be impressed by the way he managed to help this little one!
3. His Style is Extremely Unique
Kafka is worshipped for his specific expression and the style so unique that you should immediately know if he wrote the story you're reading. His mysterious and surreal ways are characterized by magical realism, the literary genre that combines reality and magic.
Thanks to this technique, Kafka makes quite unreal situations seem a regular part of a character's development. It's alright if you find yourself confused because you don't get it if he describes a nightmare or a familiar scene in one's life. Nevertheless, it just makes this journey different from anything you'd read!
2. He Even Has His Own Adjective
Imagine how big Kafka's impact is that he actually got his own adjective in literary theory! The adjective is named "Kafkaesque," and yeah, it sounds so cool. This adjective is Kafka's most distinctive feature because it originates from this gloomy, trembling, and uncomfortable atmosphere he created in his works.
"Kafkaesque" situations are usually illogically complex and so frustrating you have no idea how you came to that point. Life in his eyes felt like a never-ending nightmare, with labyrinths that, unfortunately, don't lead to anything. After all, does life lead to anything? Anything but darkness after the tunnel? One day, we're going to find out.
1. His Stories Are Relatable to This Day
Transforming into a beetle after a nightmare... sounds like a nightmare going on and staying in your life forever. Well, Kafka, you hit home with this one. Honestly, it's quite pessimistic about seeing the world through Kafka's eyes, but let's be real and say that we all have some days like Kafka's protagonists. And we have them very often.
The horror we all experience when we have to enter bureaucracy or do anything regarding the law is still quite horrible like Kafka presented it. Moreover, he's been open about the daily struggle of living – it's sometimes as Kafkaesque as his novels. And this feeling, to be honest, never goes away. This sense of worthlessness is a natural thing since, after all, we all have our rainy days.
So, are you already using "Kafkaesque" to describe your bad day? After all these reasons on our top ten list, you probably already went to the closest library and chose some intriguing Kafka's masterpiece. Enjoy your reading, and don't get that much into that world – oh well, but we know you will.
Do you have a favorite Kafka's short story? Or do you still plan to embark on his work? Start that journey already!
Cover photo: TopTens.fun/Midjourney