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Franz Kafka first met Felice Bauer in August 1912, at the home of his friend Max Brod. The twenty-five-year-old career woman from Berlin—energetic, down-to-earth, life-affirming—awakened in him a desire to marry. Kafka wrote to Felice almost daily, sometimes even twice a day. Because he was living in Prague and she in Berlin, their letters became their sole source of knowledge of each other. But soon after their engagement in 1914, Kafka began having doubts about the relationship, fearing that marriage would imperil his dedication to writing and interfere with his need for solitude. Through their break-up, a second engagement in 1917, and their final parting later that year, when Kafka began falling ill with the tuberculosis that would eventually claim his life, their correspondence continued. The more than five hundred letters that Kafka wrote to Felice over the course of those five years were acquired by Schocken from her in 1955. They reveal the full measure of Kafka's inner turmoil as he tried, in vain, to balance his need for stability with the demands of his craft.
"These letters are indispensable for anyone seeking a more intimate knowledge of Kafka and his fragmented world." —Library Journal less