Franz Kafka

By: Patrick Cates
July 3, 2009


Patrick C. stared in silent disbelief at the bureaucrat who sat on the other side of the desk. Eventually he gathered himself and spoke in an exasperated plea: “You want me to write 150 words on FRANZ KAFKA (1883-1924)? How am I supposed to pay tribute to such an important literary influence in the space of a mere paragraph?” The bureaucrat stared back coldly. “You are required to write the piece. I’m not at liberty to tell you how or why.” Not for the first time that day, Patrick C. felt alone and defeated. Why did he have to do this? Why was nobody offering to help him? Should he focus on the novels or the short stories? And how would he end the piece? By noting the appropriate fact that Kafka, highly competent insurance clerk, wanted to render his existence as a writer totally futile by having all his work posthumously burned? Or by pondering on why so much of Kafka’s work remained unfini


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: | Charlotte Perkins Gilman |

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Psychonaut (1874–1883) and Modernist (1884–93) Generations.