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Kafka’s friend and biographer, Max Brod

Max Brod, the closest friend in Kafka’s life, was himself a towering personality: author of more than eighty books, writer of countless articles and essays, translator, composer, music critic, and cultural ambassador, among those to be thanked for drawing the world’s attention to Janáček’s operas and Hašek’s Švejk. When he gave the funeral oration at Kafka’s grave, he was – in contrast to the deceased – already an internationally renowned author. However, when he died in 1968 in Tel Aviv, he was predominantly mourned by the literary world as the man who recognized Kafka’s talent early on, fostering it and making it public. They grieved for the friend who stood by Kafka and refused to comply with his will, in which he set out which works were to be destroyed. And they lamented Kafka’s first biographer, just as they mourned the courageous executor who deprived a brutal occupying power of his friend’s manuscripts. 

For you know, Max, my love for you is bigger than me, and it is more that I live in it, than that it lives in me, and it has a poor hold on my uncertain being. 

Franz Kafka to Max Brod, 1908

Wonderful evening with Max yesterday. If I love myself, I love him even more.

Franz Kafka, Diaries