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Kafka's Dillemma

Kafka's Dillemma

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Published by Adrian
Kafka's Dillemma - Should I destroy my work and why?
Kafka's Dillemma - Should I destroy my work and why?

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Published by: Adrian on May 01, 2007
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05/08/2014

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Franz Kafka never bothered much to make his work known. At the time of his death, heleft instructions to his then lover, Dora Diamant, to destroy everything he had left to her.Max Brod had received the same instruction at a certain point (he was his literaryexecutor), but had decided not to go ahead with the destruction of the manuscripts. Bothhad previously spoken about it while Kafka was alive, and Brod had made it no secretthat he did not intend to carry out, what he considered an unnecessary action.Now, given this information, the following question comes to mind: Why, if Kafka wasso intent on destroying his work, would he not have gone about it more efficiently beforefalling ill?That Kafka failed to destroy his work before he was dead makes no sense, especiallyafter having spoken about it with his friend – Brod - who held most of his manuscripts atthe time. Kafka’s intentions were more than clear. However, Brod had clearly told Kafkathat he had no intention of disposing the manuscripts – so maybe it was Brod whorightfully preserved his work.Individuals seem to promote their creativity through their own original work, then oncethey're gone, they may want it all for themselves, to consequently leave no remnant of their existence on this earth, except for emotions and lasting memories.Why would this be so? Is there always a motive behind people's creativity? Do architectsdesign buildings just to be remembered by them, or are they simply "doing their job"?Are actors most joyful when their audiences applaud their work, or are they just happy to"practice their craft"? There seems to be a thin line between the promotion of one's owncreative talent and the craving for attention and acknowledgment.
 
I would consider it most foolish to pass judgment on Franz Kafka's intentions, and if it isthe case I have done so already, I apologize. However, the question still remains: Whatdrives some people to keep their work hidden, secret, and only exposed to those theytrust, while others simply shout it to the world, as if saying "Look at me! Look at me!"?Kafka did share his writings with his friends; he even read the short stories aloud duringget-togethers from time to time. But he was also supposedly suffering from socialanxiety, depression as well as other maladies, which most, were afflicting himchronically.He also had a poor love life, or at least it seems so, since he never married (maybe henever wanted to?) and had already left traces of a line of failed relationships. While thisproves nothing, it can lead to the hypothesis that given his personal life, he probably hadvery strong motives to have wanted at the end of his life to have his whole body of work destroyed.Kafka was always his profession first, and writer second. Writing was his hobby, as it ismine, as it is most writer's, for who can call himself a writer anymore? You write a shortstory after work, maybe on the weekend, but for a living? It's hard to do.Now, for those who want to write just to gain an audience, and some attention...unlessthese penmen enjoy both writing very much and the attention that comes from it equallyas much, they are doomed to fail. Maybe not commercially, since some can pull it off,but at no level will they succeed personally. As preachy as this may sound, shouldn'trecognition be a bonus derived from the production of one's own contributions, and notso much the goal?It doesn't matter if an individual wants his work destroyed; after all it is
his
work. Whatdoes matter is the reason behind its production. Would it have changed Kafka's mind if 

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