Lot 143: Franz Kafka - Collection of First Editions, 1913-1924
November 15, 2016
Jerusalem, IsraelLive Auction
Description: Seven books by Franz Kafka, first editions, in original covers. Published by "Kurt Wolf" and "Die Schmiede". Berlin, Munich and Leipzig, 1913-1924. German. Franz Kafka (1882-1924) is widely regarded as one of the major figures of German language 20th century literature. In his books, stories and essays he depicted realistically the distresses of modern society, the atmosphere in Europe between the World Wars, and the complexity of his Jewish origin. Kafka did not publish much during his lifetime, and except for a limited circle of acquaintances and authors, he remained almost anonymous. In 1912 his friend Max Brod presented his writings to the publisher Kurt Wolff (who published the first books by Franz Werfel, Axel Munthe, and others). Wolff was very impressed and decided to publish the books. The complicated attitude of Kafka towards his work is well reflected in these modest booklets; the author considered it adequate to publish only very few of his stories, but asked to print them in as large letters as possible, so that they will resemble a complete book (a book which he was hoping to publish all his life). In his last days Kafka felt such an aversion towards his works that he asked to collect the booklets and destroy them. 1-2. Der Heizer [the stoker]. Leipzig: Kurt Wolf, 1913. First edition. Two copies. 46,  pp, 21.5 cm. Good condition. Some stains. Minor damages to wrappers. 3. Das Urteil [The Judgement]. Leipzig: Kurt Wolff, 1916. First edition. 28,  pp, 21.5 cm. Body of book in good condition, stains. Wrappers in fair-poor condition: front wrapper detached. Open tears. 4. Ein Landarzt [A Country Doctor]. Munich and Leipzig: Kurt Wolff, 1919. First Edition. , 189,  pp. Approx. 23 cm. Good-fair condition. Stains. Defects to cover. Ex Libris. 5. In der Strafkolonie [In the Penal Colony]. Leipzig: Kurt Wolff, 1919. First edition. Fine edition, printed in 1000 copies, on paper of good quality. Binding covered with marbled paper, with leather spine and a bound bookmark. 68,  pp, 22.5 cm. Good condition. Some stains. Damages to spine and corners of cover. Ex Libris. 6-7. Ein Hungerk?nstler [A Hunger Artist]. Berlin: Die Schmiede, 1924. First edition. First published in the literary magazine "Neue Rundschau" in 1922. Kafka's first book published posthumously. Two copies: one in a cardboard binding and one in a cloth-covered binding. 85,  pp, 22.5 cm. Good condition. Lacking spine of cardboard binding. Ex Libris in the volume with cloth covered binding.