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This brief but inclusive biography of Franz Kafka and summary of many of his works, all illustrated by Crumb, helps us understand the essence of Kafka and provide insight beyond the cliche "Kafkaesque."

"What do I have in common with the Jews? I don't even have anything in common with myself." Nothing could better express the essence of Franz Kafka, a man described by his friends as living behind a "glass wall." Kafka wrote in the tradition of the great Yiddish storytellers, whose stock-in-trade was bizarre fantasy tainted with hilarity and self-abasement. What he added to this tradition was an almost unbearably expanded consciousness. Alienated from his roots, his family, his surroundings, and primarily from his own body, Kafka created a unique literary language in which to hide away, transforming himself into a cockroach, an ape, a dog, a mole or a circus artiste who starves himself to death in front of admiring crowds. David Zane Mairowitz's brilliant text and the illustrations and comic panels of the world's greatest cartoonist, Robert Crumb (himself no stranger to self-loathing and alienation), help us to understand the essence of Kafka and provide insight beyond the cliche "Kafkaesque," peering through Kafka's glass wall like no other book before it. The book is a wonderful educational tool for those unfamiliar with Kafka, including a brief but inclusive biography as well as the plots of many of his works, all illustrated by Crumb, making this newly designed edition a must-have for admirers of both Kafka and Crumb.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781560978060
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Publication date: 05/15/2007
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 463,178
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Born in Philadelphia, R. Crumb is the author of numerous comic works and one of the pioneers of underground comics and arguably one of the most famous cartoonists in history. His books includeThe Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb, and many more. He lives in the south of France with his wife, the artist Aline Kominsky-Crumb.

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Kafka 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
BenTreat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crumb's drawings are great. Mairowitz doesn't include any sources for his claims, which weakens the text. A foreword or afterword referring to significant scholarly influences on his interpretation might have been helpful; even a "for further reading" bibliography would have bee nice. Instead, I was left wondering what led Mairowitz to make some of the claims that he made about Kafka's point of view. This book is best if taken as art, rather than scholarship, and used to stimulate further reading.
dr_zirk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to admit to not being much of a Robert Crumb fan, which must make me something of a pariah among comics aficionados. I've always found his brand of intense autobiographical navel-gazing to be regrettable, especially given the huge influence it has apparently had on mediocre cartoonists of a younger generation, such as Gabrielle Bell, Jeffrey Brown, and Joe Matt.Now that my bias is clear, I have to come clean and say that I love Crumb's work on Kafka. With someone else (David Zane Mairowitz) handling the writing duties, Crumb is free to concentrate on the artwork, which is exceptional and extremely well-suited to the topic at hand. Given that Crumb's traditional weaknesses are his choice of subject matter and his explication thereof, Kafka presents him with an ideal forum in which to excel. Mairowitz deserves much of the credit for his thoughtful, insightful, and well-reasoned analysis of Kafka and his works, and the marriage of that highly readable text with Crumb's slightly exaggerated black-and-white drawings couldn't be better. The excesses inherent in Crumb's pen work are entirely appropriate for visualizing Kafka's world and the parallel worlds of his fiction. Overall, this volume is both a great introduction to Kafka and a wonderful "mid-course" review for those who have already indulged in some of the Kafka canon.
mschaefer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A visual biography of Franz Kafka written by David Mairowitz and illustrated by Robert Crumb, including several (partial) adaptations of Kafka stories such as Metamorphosis and In the Penal Colony. Holds up excellently at all levels.
Repeater13 More than 1 year ago
For this one the header says it all. I'm a huge fan of R. Crumb's illustrations and Kafka's stories and philosophy so for me this was a no brainer. If you are at all interested in Kafka and enjoy intricate comicbook art you will enjoy this. I also enjoyed the writing of the biographer, however if ther is one negative about this it's that there is no bibliography, hence I'm not sure where all of the facts have come from and also it is a short and rather surface bio, but that in no way takes away from that fact that for what it is it's perfect. check it out, I love it, and Fantagraphics as always has done a beautiful job with this one!
MoonlightDrive More than 1 year ago
For anyone who would like some insight into the life of Franz Kafka with an illustrated touch, this is the book for you. At only 176 pages one would be surprised at all the knowledge gained considering the large illustrations and sometimes entire comics on the pages. The collaboration between David Mairowitz and Robert Crumb is phenomenal. Concise descriptions and intricate artwork are blended seamlessly to tell the story of this seemingly unknowable man. I would consider this book a sort of graphic biography. Crumb and Mairowitz go from detailing random, mundane thoughts Kafka had-to groups of yuppies discussing their "Kafkaesque" situations-to Kakfa's home life and so much more. Among the stories of Kafka that they discuss and illustrate in this book are The Metamorphosis, The Burrow, and The Trial. You'll have to read it to find out what other stories they discuss. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Franz Kafka or Robert Crumb and if you've never heard of either then you should definitely read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago