Friday, 21 January 2011


I have received an invitation from The London Review of Books to attend a lecture at The British Museum entitled Who Owns Kafka? Now then, anyone who has read any of Franz Kafka's works will immediately find the concept of the ownership of yer man, or his works, a troubling thing to grapple with given the intrinsic tendency towards existential nihilism which permeates much of his writings. Not to mention the surreal imagery, depression and hopelessness.
Be that as it may, it seems the State of Israel is determined that because Kafka was Jewish then his works belong to Israel so they are taking legal action to secure Kafka's unpublished papers for the Israel National Library. But the woman who actually owns the unpublished papers, through inheritance, wants to sell them to a German museum - more info on the background at the BBC. The problem arises because Kafka's friend Max Brod disobeyed his instructions to burn all his papers after his death, and instead took them with him to Israel in 1939 and gave them to his secretary who left them to her daughters. This one will run and run and keep the lawyers happy as well as provide a nice little sideline for intellectuals, whether Jewish or not.

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