It’s hard for a lot of individuals to understand the significance of keeping a diary. Some believe that this is merely something a disgruntled teenager does to create an outlet for their angst. However, some of the most influential writers in history have kept personal diaries. Take Franz Kafka for example. This 19th century writer was a big player in the existentialism field, and his literary works are revered by critics even today.
Kafka not only spent much of his life writing novels and short stories, but he chronicled much of his life in his own personal diaries. Today, the writer’s innermost thoughts and feelings can be examined. The world at large can glean a lot more knowledge due to the recording of his personal thoughts.
Born in 1883 in Austria-Hungary, Franz Kafka lived a very short life, dying at only 40 years of age in 1924. But while his time on this earth may have been short, his literary works will forever live on as some of the most influential in the existentialist genre. Fans of his work are impressed that such a young man, who also worked as an insurance officer, could have such gripping insight dealing with the world around him. Especially considering his physical and mental state.
Kafka contracted tuberculosis while still a young man, and this disease would wreak havoc on him before ultimately taking his life. Inflicted with this disease, Franz developed deep depression and was often isolated from the rest of the world. All his relationships ended poorly, and his writings were his only true form of expression. Kafka’s diaries offer a tremendous amount of insight about the man.
When Franz Kafka was 27, he was already very ill and, by all accounts, already terribly displeased and even depressed. He had trouble focusing on his work, his vivid dreams would haunt much of his life, and he began to feel as if he was falling apart at the seams. To keep himself focused and to provoke his “stalled writing,” as he called it, Franz began keeping a personal journal in 1910.
Kafka kept up with his regular journal entries for nearly 13 years, continuing until 1923, only 1 year before he would succumb to starvation due to his TB. Throughout the pages of his diary, readers catch a glimpse of the man’s tortured soul. Franz offers up intimate details of his life, covering his dreams, his philosophical ideas, casual observations, and even ideas for stories.
Those who have read the Franz Kafka diary entries can attest to just how dark the man’s personality actually was at this point in his life. No one knew better than Kafka that his time was very limited, and this caused severe depression and isolation. Despite it all, however, Franz felt obligated to record his thoughts and feelings in his diaries.
The Franz Kafka diaries stand as a shining example of a person’s true personality versus the fiction they write in stories or novels. While Kafka’s fictional works were always humorous and lighthearted, his diaries show the exact opposite.