Kafka's Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy

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When Franz Kafka died in 1924, his loyal friend Max Brod could not bring himself to fulfill Kafka's last instruction: to burn his remaining manuscripts. Instead, Brod devoted his life to championing Kafka's work, rescuing his legacy from obscurity and physical destruction.

Nearly a century later, an international legal battle erupted to determine which country could claim ownership: Israel, where Kafka dreamed of living, or Germany, where Kafka's three sisters perished in the Holocaust? Benjamin Balint offers a gripping account of the controversial trial in Israeli courts-- brimming with dilemmas legal, ethical, and political--that determined the fate of Kafka's manuscripts.

"Thoughtful and provocative." -- Ruth Franklin, Wall Street Journal

"A tale pitting two Goliaths against one octogenarian David, untangled in exacting, riveting detail. . . . A must- read." -- Rebecca Schuman, Slate

"A gifted cultural historian with a scholarly sensibility." -- Lev Mendes, New York Times Book Review

Publication Date: 
September 24, 2019