Benjamin Balint, a library fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, has been doing serious literary footwork on the legacy of Franz Kafka’s writing, in as much that what was published was done contrary to Kafka’s instructions. He is here this evening with his book on all of this, Kafka’s Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy (W.W. Norton).
“Thrilling and profound, Kafka’s Last Trial shines new light not only on the greatest writer of the twentieth century and the fate of his work, but also on the larger question of who owns art or has a right to claim guardianship of it. Benjamin Balint combines the sharp eye of the courtroom journalist with the keen meditations of a literary and cultural thinker, and his research and lively intelligence deliver insights on every page.” — Nicole Krauss.
“Though Benjamin Balint’s masterful hunt for Kafka’s rightful ownership begins as a local dispute in an Israeli family court, it soon thickens into modernity’s most bitterly contentious cultural conundrum. Who should inherit Franz Kafka? … Searing questions of language, of personal bequest, of friendship, of biographical evidence, of national pride, of justice, of deceit and betrayal, even of metaphysical allegiance, burn through Balint’s scrupulous trackings of Kafka’s final standing before the law.” — Cynthia Ozick.