Thursday, July 10, 2008

There's Good News and Bad News

The Guardian reports on a private collection of Franz Kafka's papers. The good news:

Previously unseen documents, postcards, sketches and personal belongings of the Czech-Jewish writer, who wrote in German, have been gathering dust in the home of Esther Hoffe, the former secretary of Kafka's friend and executor Max Brod since his death in 1968. Hoffe's refusal to relinquish the documents led to a literary game of cat and mouse between her and the state of Israel, under pressure from the country's cultural elite, which on one occasion even led to her arrest on suspicion of smuggling Kafka's writings out of the country.

Now, following her death at the age of 101, Kafka lovers hope the row may have come to an end. Researchers are ready to pounce on the contents of Hoffe's flat, fully expecting the items will throw new light on the mysterious writer who died at the age of 41, as well as his friendship with Brod, his greatest champion.
And the bad news. The Beinecke it ain't:
But authorities in Tel Aviv have warned that the papers, with their high sulphuric acid content, may have stood up poorly to conditions in Hoffe's damp flat in the centre of Tel Aviv and to the hordes of cats and dogs which she kept until two years ago when health inspectors intervened after neighbours complained about the stench.

No comments: