Understanding Kafka (or not)

Anchored in Prague and Prague’s German-speaking Jewish middle class, Kafka had the sensibility of a man of his place and time. Haas [Willy – a friend of Milena] observed that

Kafka had certainly said it all, all that we had on the tips of our tongue and never said, never could say . . . . I cannot imagine how any man can understand him at all who was not born in Prague in the period 1880 to 1890 . . . . Kafka seems to me to be . . . an Austrian, Jewish and Prague secret to which only we have the key.

– Louis Begley, The Tremendous World I Have Inside My Head

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