A Hunger Artist

A Hunger Artist

by Franz Kafka

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The last book published during Kafka's lifetime, A Hunger Artist (1924) explores many of the themes that were close to him: spiritual poverty, asceticism, futility, and the alienation of the modern artist. He edited the manuscript just before his death, and these four stories are some of his best known and most powerful work, marking his maturity as a writer. In addition to "First Sorrow," "A Little Woman," and "Josephine, the Singer," is the title story, "A Hunger Artist," which has been called by the critic Heinz Politzer "a perfection, a fatal fulfillment that expresses Kafka's desire for permanence."

The three volumes Twisted Spoon has published: Contemplation, A Country Doctor, and A Hunger Artist represent the collections of stories that Kafka had published during his lifetime. Though each volume has its own distinctive character, they have most often appeared in English in collected editions. They are presented here as separate editions, in new translations, each with its own illustrator from the Prague community.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781690594703
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Publication date: 02/24/2020
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 18
File size: 140 KB
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a German author and is considered to be one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century. With works like The Metamorphosis, The Trial, and The Castle, he specialized in diverse themes and archetypes of alienation, physical and psychological brutality, parent-child conflict, and characters who take on terrifying quests.

Date of Birth:

July 3, 1883

Date of Death:

June 3, 1924

Place of Birth:

Prague, Austria-Hungary

Place of Death:

Vienna, Austria


German elementary and secondary schools. Graduated from German Charles-Ferdinand University of Prague.

Read an Excerpt

From A Little Woman: She is a little woman; quite slim by nature, she is tightly bound; I always see her in the same dress, it is made from a yellowish gray fabric that in a certain way resembles the color of wood, and is decorated with tassels or certain buttonlike fringes of the same color; she never wears a hat, her dull blond hair is smooth and not messy, although she wears it very loosely. Although she is tightly bound, she is quite flexible, and she exaggerates this flexibility; she likes to put her hands on her hips, and, surprisingly quickly, turn her upper body sideways with a single movement. I can only reproduce the impression that her hand makes on me by saying that I have never seen a hand in which the fingers are as sharply divided from one another as hers. However, her hand is in no way an anatomical peculiarity; it is a completely normal hand.

This little woman is very unhappy with me, there is always something about me that she finds objectionable, some injustice is always being done to her because of me, I annoy her at every step; if it were possible to divide life up into the smallest possible pieces and judge each piece separately, there is no doubt that every little piece of my life would annoy her. I have often wondered why I annoy her so much; it could be that everything about me contradicts her sense of beauty, her sense of justice, her habits, her traditions, her hopes; such contrary natures exist, but why does she let it cause her so much suffering? There is no relationship between us that would cause her to suffer because of me. She need only decide to view me as a complete stranger since this is after all what I am and since I would have nothing against such a decision she need only decide to forget my existence, which I never have and never would force upon her and all her suffering would obviously be over. In this I take no account of myself or of the fact that her behavior makes me uncomfortable, I ignore this because I recognize that this discomfort is nothing compared to her suffering. Of course I am completely aware that it is not a loving suffering; it has nothing to do with improving me, especially since everything she objects to in me is not of such a nature that it might prevent my success. But my success does not worry her either, what worries her is precisely her personal interest, namely, to take revenge for the torment that I cause her, and to prevent the torment that threatens to come from me in the future. I once tried to show her the best possible way of putting an end to this incessant annoyance, but in so doing I caused such an outburst of rage that I will never repeat the attempt.

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