Kafka Papers Overcome Kafkaesque Legal Issues

October 21, 2012 | 1

After a long and complicated drama that played out for five years in Israeli courts, a collection of Franz Kafka and Max Brod manuscripts will be transferred to the National Library in Jerusalem. The unique circumstances at play in this case have been previously written about by Elif Batuman.

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.

One comment:

  1. While the long-awaited conclusion of the trial in Tel Aviv Family Court over the Brod Collection is good news, I am afraid that with the promised ensuing appeals, which could take years to settle, it is only the illusion of a solution for researchers like myself, an “apparent aquittal,” as Kafka has the painter Titorelli explain to Joseph K in “The Trial”:

    “The documents remain as they were, except that the affidavit is added to them and a record of the acquittal and the grounds for granting it. The whole dossier continues to circulate, as the regular official routine demands, passing on to the higher Courts, being referred to the lower ones again, and thus swinging backwards and forwards with greater or smaller oscillations, longer or shorter delays. Their peregrinations are incalculable.”
    [The Trial, Vintage, p 198.]

    Of course, I will be delighted if I am mistaken in this regard, and if the Brod Collection actually is made available to the public soon. My interest in the Brod Collection centers on 70 letters that Dora Diamant wrote to Max Brod over a 25 year period, for which I have a catalogued list. Those letters have extraordinary significance to the SDSU Kafka Project’s ongoing search for Kafka’s 35 letters and 20 notebooks confiscated from Dora Diamant by the Gestapo in 1933.

    I would like to also add that I feel sorry for Eva Hoffe for the loss of her sister, and for the enormous cost of the legal battle to her own life. I also regret that for the researchers and experts who will be charged with sorting it all out someday, it may be too late to have Hoffe’s personal knowledge of the archive to help frame it.

    This litigenous legacy is the last thing Franz Kafka would have wanted.
    But clearly he envisioned an aspect of it in his literature.

    — Kathi Diamant
    Director, Kafka Project
    Adjunct Professor, San Diego State University
    Author, Kafka’s Last Love

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