Skip to content

Conversations with Kafka

by Gustav Janouch

cover image for

This remarkable book, itself the result of a miraculous discovery of material believed lost, is one of the most exciting works—fiction, nonfiction, poetry—I remember having read.

—Joyce Carol Oates, Partisan Review

The value of Gustav Janouch’s Conversations with Kafka was immediately recognized when it was first published in America in 1953. Through a series of mishaps, however, the original text did not include several large and critical segments of the manuscript. The missing material, only recovered by chance, was integrated in 1971 into this revised and enlarged edition of Janouch’s extraordinary portrait of Kafka. "The living Kafka whom I knew," the author writes in his post-script, "was far greater than the posthumously published books, which his friend Max Brod preserved from destruction. The Franz Kafka whom I used to visit and was allowed to accompany on his walks through Prague had such greatness and inner certainty that even today, at every turning point in my life, I can hold fast to the memory of his shade as if it were solidly cast in steel .... [He] is for me one of the last, and therefore perhaps one of the greatest, because closest to us, of mankind’s religious and ethical teachers."

Conversations with Kafka

Nonfiction by Gustav Janouch

with a contribution by Francine Prose
published January 28th, 2012