On this day, 138 years ago, notable novelist Franz Kafka was born. His writing has since become well-known for their “senseless, disorienting and menacing complexity”, with kafkaesque entering our cultural lexicon to describe situations similar to those found in his books.
Despite the reputation his books have garnered of being difficult to read and comprehend, a closer look reveals that Kafka would have fit right in with the rest of us as we navigate a pandemic, adjust to work-from-home, and juggle our emotions, needs, and physical and mental health.
Along with tempestuous and difficult personal relationships, Franz Kafka also struggled greatly with his mental health throughout his life. As a result, his writing literally represented a lifeline for this prolific author, and authors today continue to benefit greatly from his reflections on the life of a writer.
Kafka’s thoughts on depression, love, and anxiety give us a glimpse into the human condition, that has remained largely unchanged over the last one hundred years. And in the same way, one might be forgiven for thinking that he might not have been out of place in our meme-obsessed social media landscape with his bitingly sarcastic wit.
KAFKA WAS CLEARLY CENTURIES AHEAD OF HIS TIME WHEN IT CAME TO LIVE-TWEETING HIS DEPRESSION.
Basically it is nothing other than this fear we have so often talked about, but fear spread to everything, fear of the greatest as of the smallest, fear, paralyzing fear of pronouncing a word, although this fear may not only be fear but also a longing for something greater than all that is fearful.”
KAFKA ON SOCIAL ANXIETY, FROM LETTERS TO MILENA
NO PRIZES FOR GUESSING WHAT CAPTIONS HE’D HAVE ADDED TO HIS CAREFULLY CURATED FEED OF SOULFULLY ARTISTIC IMAGES ON INSTAGRAM. KAFKA WAS THE OG INSTAGRAM POET.
Happy birthday, Franz Kafka. And finally thank you for these evergreen words of wisdom, that we are unlikely to forget as we struggle to work from our homes and manage our anxiety.