The index of Ronald Hayman’s K – a biography of Kafka published to some acclaim in 1981 – contains the following entries under the name of Kafka, Franz: “suicidal impulses”; “self-dislike”; “inability to remember pleasant experiences”; “tormented by noises”; “compulsion to think badly of himself”; and, rather more mysteriously, “refusal of the food that life offers”.
There are plenty more along the same lines – but you get the idea.
This is the Kafka we’re most familiar with: the neurotic self-hater whose work came from his tortured psyche and whose genius went unrecognised during his tragic lifetime.
“The K-myth”, as James Hawes calls it in Excavating Kafka (perhaps with Hayman in his sights), is something we’re oddly fond of. Yet it suffers from a major flaw: it’s completely untrue.
more from The Telegraph here.