Franz Kafka had a double life as if he was an early James Bond but with his writing and personality. According to those closest to him, he was an intense womanizer who was tortured by endless sexual desire and a regular customer at many brothels at the time. As much as he was a womanizer, he was very intense in his relationships with women. There are two books of letters that were published after his death: Letters to Felice and Letters to Milena.

Intensity In Masterpieces

The relationship of Franz Kafka and Milena Jesenská began in 1920. Franz was 36 years old and had already been diagnosed with tuberculosis. He met Milena who was 23 years old at the time and described her as a “living fire” as such he had never experienced before. The relationship in this book of letters starts only with a commercial relationship; she was his Czech translator but soon turns into a brief but really intense love-letter relationship. Kafka reveals his deepest thoughts, fears and feelings to her and even after his death, he entrusted her with the safekeeping of his diaries.

Each of the letters that composes the book is a definite masterpiece. It is amazing how he could convey all those feelings in such a way. Compared to other work such as The Trial, his letter-writing was amazingly direct and precise; not a noun or an adjective is overused.

letters to milena

There are several volumes going around the world, I highly recommend you put your hands on the complete work that includes some of the material that was erased for the original publication to preserve some privacy and the names of certain people. The augmented volume includes also some letters from Milena to Max Brod, some of her own essays (she can really write!) and Kafka´s obituary.

Leave a Reply