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Kafka, love, and courage : the life of Milena Jesenská

Author: Mary Hockaday
Publisher: Woodstock, NY : Overlook Press, 1997.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : English : 1st American edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Milena Jesenska is best known as the recipient of Kafka's Letters to Milena. This compelling biography fleshes out Kafka's muse, a radical-thinking, thoroughly independent woman and journalist in her own right who lived at the center of cosmopolitan Prague before the war. Always a breaker of conventions, she advocated free love, simple fashions and female independence. She experimented with Bohemianism, cafe
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Genre/Form: Biography
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Hockaday, Mary.
Kafka, love, and courage.
Woodstock, NY : Overlook Press, 1997
(OCoLC)680499202
Named Person: Milena Jesenská; Franz Kafka; Milena Jesenská; Milena Jesenská; Franz Kafka
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Mary Hockaday
ISBN: 0879517514 9780879517519 087951731X 9780879517311
OCLC Number: 35114968
Description: xiv, 255 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Responsibility: Mary Hockaday.

Abstract:

Milena Jesenska is best known as the recipient of Kafka's Letters to Milena. This compelling biography fleshes out Kafka's muse, a radical-thinking, thoroughly independent woman and journalist in her own right who lived at the center of cosmopolitan Prague before the war. Always a breaker of conventions, she advocated free love, simple fashions and female independence. She experimented with Bohemianism, cafe society, sex and drugs, had passionate friendships with other women and shoplifted occasionally. She also translated Gorky, Stendahl, Flaubert, Stevenson - and Kafka. The two met when Milena approached Kafka, asking for permission to translate his work, and the two were soon engaged in a deeply intimate correspondence.

As a journalist, Milena left a vivid record of the times, writing on diverse subjects, from the latest fashions, modern architecture and interior design to contemporary politics and, in time, the Munich crisis and Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia. When the Second World War broke out, she was part of the underground resistance until her arrest and detention in Ravensbruck concentration camp. Drawing on unpublished letters and other archival material from Prague and on Milena's own journalism, Mary Hockaday casts Milena's life against the backdrop of the intellectual circles of pre-war Prague. Milena emerges as a real woman who lived both heroically and imperfectly in complex times, a fascinating woman of enormous vitality and passion.

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