About the BookThis is an exploration of Kafka’s work in the context both of his own complicated world - that of a Czech Jew writing in German within a crumbling empire - and of the later world he seems uncannily to have predicted. Once regarded as a writer of dreamlike fantasies, he is now seen as an expert guide to the all too real darknesses of our time. ‘Do you think we would arrest someone who hasn’t done anything?’ This question, as J P Stern reminds us, might have come from a book by Kafka, but doesn’t. It is the remark of a Gestapo officer to a Jewish woman about to be taken to a death camp. The emphasis of this book is on Kafka’s language and on his ideas about writing, but not to the exclusion of history or politics. On the contrary. Language in this context is history and politics, a privileged point of access to Kafka’s understanding of his time and ours.About the Author/sMichael Wood is Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English at Princeton University. Previously Professor of English at the University of Exeter, he is a regular contributor to: the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, and a number of other journals. His books include: Stendhal (1971), Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude (1990) and Children of Silence: on Contemporary Fiction (1998).