Franz Kafka in Love
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Uploaded on Nov 17, 2007
Song: Where is the Village? /
Vi iz dus geseleh?, sung in yiddish
and english by the Barry Sisters.
Dual tracks sound enhanced version.
Franz Kafka in Love:
"Kafka's own love life with two ladies in particular, Felice Bauer and Grete Bloch...
"and there were his letters to Felice Bauer, the Jewish girl he fell in love with and 'made love to' via letter over a period of two years, supplemented by his letters to her friend, with whom he also fell in love.
Kafka had met Felice Bauer in Berlin in 1912. Over the next two years, he would exchange dozens and dozens of letters with her, some of them extremely intimate, if not classically romantic. Kafka twice became engaged to Felice, despite being wholly unattracted to her sexually.
Enter Grete Bloch, Felice's best friend, whom she sent over to Prague to sort Kafka out, and with whom he began an affair that went far beyond the exchange of letters. Wracked with guilt, he eventually confessed his unfaithfulness to Felice - in fact, the two women put Kafka "on trial" in a hotel room in Berlin, with his steamy letters to Grete providing the damning evidence they needed for a "conviction."
It was after his grilling in that Berlin hotel room that Kafka began writing The Trial. At the age of thirty, he again became engaged to Felice, yet wrote in his diary that in doing so, he felt "bound hand and foot, like a criminal."
The story of Kafka's real life trial at the hands of Felice Bauer and Greta Bloch, set against the narrative of the novel, says Paul Bentley, in part explains Josef K.'s mysterious attraction to the character "Fraulein Burstner."
Kafka and Felice Bauer
"There's no doubt that the two girls turn up in the novel; there's no question of it. When you realise that Fraulein Burstner is Felice, his fiancée, who tore him to pieces at this trial, this pseudo 'trial' in the hotel room, and read damning extracts from his letters to the other girl and so forth, and that the pair of them destroyed him, then you realise why Josef K, on the way to the quarry, loses the will to live; because, you know, he [Kafka] was simply a broken man after that trial." "
FRANZ KAFKA IN LOVE:
"During his life Kafka had many girlfriends, many affairs, and a number of broken engagements. In 1912 he met Felice Bauer, a twenty-four-year-old businesswoman from Berlin. He warned her that life with him would mean ''a monastic life side by side with a man who is fretful, melancholy, untalkative, dissatisfied and sickly.'' Their relationship lasted for five years. Felice later moved to the United States, where she died in 1960."
"Julie Wohryzek , daughter of a synagogue servant, * 1891-1944 January 1919 Franz Kafka meets Julie Wohryzek in a pension (pension Stuedl) in Schelesen [ Zelezná ] (noerdl. v. Prague), in which it is for recovery. October/November. 1919 Planned marriage fails, because an intended dwelling was otherwise assigned. 6.Juli 1920 Last well-known meeting"
"She was not the first woman in Kafka's life, and he tried to be objective about their future together:
"I've been engaged twice (three times, if you wish, that's to say twice to the same girl), so I've been separated three times from marriage by only a few days. The first one is completely over...the second is without any prospect of marriage..."
He wanted to marry, he explained, but feared it would affect his writing. For Kafka, marriage was not a way out of loneliness but a vision of security, a vocation in itself:
"Marrying, founding a family, accepting all the children that come, supporting them in this insecure world and perhaps even guiding them a little, is I am convinced, the utmost a human being can succeed in doing at all."
Part of the love letter dated Nov 11, 1912, from Kafka to Felice Bauer:
"Write to me only once a week, so that your letter arrives on Sunday -- for I cannot endure your daily letters, I am incapable of enduring them. For instance, I answer one of your letters, then lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you. I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough. But for this very reason I don't want to know what you are wearing; it confuses me so much that I cannot deal with life; and that's why I don't want to know that you are fond of me. If I did, how could I, fool that I am, go on sitting in my office, or here at home, instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you? Oh, there is a sad, sad reason for not doing so. To make it short: My health is only just good enough for myself alone, not good enough for marriage, let alone fatherhood. Yet when I read your letter, I feel I could overlook even what cannot possibly be overlooked."
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