In Rome presented ‘The drawings of Kafka’ so far unpublished

Tomorrow I will meet in Rome to present “Kafka’s drawings” at 6 pm at the House of Literature. Marino Freschi and Marco Filoni take part in the event. The volume, published by Adelphi (Milan), is edited by Andreas Kilcher and uses the translation by Ada Vigliani. It appeared in Germany in 2021 and is accompanied – in this Italian edition – by a Note by Roberto Calasso, narrator and editor who passed away on July 28 last year.

“Canetti wrote that Kafka is the only writer who has never ‘swelled up’ – Calasso argues – You can see it for the hostility to the growth of the line. It must not increase, it must not decrease. The line has no adjectives. It is the only safe form that is offered. The rest is chaos. “

Shortly before his death, Franz Kafka asked his friend Max Brod to destroy all his “scribbles”. With this term he alluded not only to the writings, but also to those drawings which, giving proof of authentic talent, he had drawn over the years on scattered sheets, diary pages and an entire notebook. (continues)

Fortunately for us, Max Brod did not destroy either one or the other: never was disobedience more providential. However, he made public only a small number of drawings. The rest, most of them, remained hidden for decades in a safe deposit box, first in Tel Aviv and then in Zurich. And only when, recently, they came back to light, the artistic aspect of the Bohemian author was fully revealed.

A face that we will now be able to get to know: in fact, in the volume the entire ‘corpus’ of the works conserved is reproduced – on original support, and almost always in full size. Page after page, you meet the slender black silhouettes of curvilinear men who hurry or climb who knows where, or seem to dance. Angular figures, with a barely hinted face, sometimes comical. And, again, hybrid beings, often represented with few masterful traits, evanescent images, as if in breathless movement, enigmatic apparitions.

We can thus recognize an artist ‘related’ to the writer, but who follows an autonomous parallel path, which for Kafka was no less vital, if the novelist could write to his girlfriend Felice Bauer: “Once I was a great draftsman … at that time, now years ago, those drawings satisfied me more than anything else “.


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