By Reiner Stach
During compiling his hugely acclaimed three-volume biography of Kafka, whereas foraying to libraries and information from Prague to Israel, Reiner Stach made one extraordinary discovery after one other: unforeseen photos, inconsistencies in handwritten texts, excerpts from letters, and stories from Kafka’s contemporaries that shed awesome mild on his character and his writing. Is that Kafka? provides the crystal granules of the true Kafka: he couldn’t lie, yet he attempted to cheat on his high-school checks; bitten by means of the health fad, he avidly the regime of a Danish workout guru; he drew superbly; he enjoyed beer; he learn biographies voraciously; he made the main appealing provides, particularly for kids; strange issues made him cry or made him livid; he loved slapstick. each discovery via Stach activates its head the stereotypical model of the tortured neurotic—and as each chips away on the monolithic darkish Kafka, the keynote, of all issues, turns into laughter.
For Is that Kafka? Stach has assembled ninety nine of his most fun discoveries, culling the highest quality, such a lot exciting bits, and including his knowledge-able commentaries. Illustrated with dozens of formerly unknown photographs, this quantity is a novel literary excitement.
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Additional resources for Is that Kafka?: 99 Finds
Although it was not the book which Friedrichs had originally proposed to me, he was willing to help; and one of the great pleasures of my life has been working with him. The book was a long time in the writing. I think that Courant would have appreciated the fact that now, five years later, when I have finished the story of his relationship with Gottingen, I find that, if I have not written his biography, I have written the story of his life. 5 ONE (C OURANT never volunteered much about his life before he carne to Gottingen.
Their presentation of the subject was as classical as the presentation in Breslau had been. Neither was of the stature of Hilbert, Minkowski, and Klein. The impetus which would make Gottingen one of the great physics centers of the world would come from the mathematicians rather 21 Courant than from the physicists. Courant ignored Riecke after the first semester and took relatively few courses from Voigt, whom he nevertheless admired very much as a person and as a musician. " He took only two courses with Klein during his five semesters in Gottingen; and although each semester he took a course from Minkowski, he can be said to have "majored" in Hilbert.
Karl Schwarzschild, the astronomer, made contributions to both theoretical and observational astronomy as well as to quantum mechanics and relativity theory. Ludwig Prandtl, 25 Courant the mechanical genius, developed the mathematical formulation of boundary-layer and airfoil theory. Zermelo, the logician, did his first mathematical work in the calculus of variations and made important contributions to kinetic gas theory. This general interaction of theory and practice was always to be for Courant the distinguishing characteristic of the Gottingen scientific tradition.