Franz Kafka

In the deck of UB playing cards… : The Creeping Dread

Backstory: FK brought all of our nightmares into seering focus and uncovered the rot infesting all of our dreams. Born in 1880s Prague, he lived just long enough to see the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before surrendering at the age of 40 to tuberculosis. Few of his stories were published in his lifetime, and it was only the treachery of a good friend, Max Brod, which would allow the world to see into the labrynthine soul of the paranoiac unbound. Love/hated his father, a burly bully and successful businessman who felt little compassion for his very slight and sickly son, Franz channeled his Oedipal energies into writing some of the most masterfully twisted stories of existential angst smothered in despair. He toyed with the idea of marriage on more than one occasion, especially with Felice Bauer, who was the recipient of his prodigious correspondences and misguided affections. In the end, he chose writing and suffering over romance, and the world is better (and worse) for it. While others, such as Bert Camus, implore us to laugh at the absurd, Kafka reminds us of the absurdity of even that feeble act of rebellious defiance.

What we learn: We are all going to die… like dogs.

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