Kafkas Vermächtnis

British publisher Frederic Warburg (who published English editions of Kafka’s novels during the heavy bombing of London in World War II ) mentions in his book „All Authors are Equal“ (he was also George Orwell’s publisher) an anecdote involving Brod, Kafka and their manuscripts. He attributes this story („for whose authenticity I do not vouch“ ) to Hannah Arendt, but does not provide a source. In it, Brod is strolling down a Prague street, a few days after Kafka’s death, and meets a literary editor („Let’s call him Rudi,“ writes Warburg ):

Rudi: „You look sad, Max, indeed we are all sad at the shocking news of poor Kafka’s death.“

Max: „… my friend Franz placed on my shoulders a heavy burden. Franz has given me instructions that I am to burn all his unpublished work, all of it.“

Rudi: „Well, you must burn it, then, as Franz wishes.“

Max: „It is not so easy, my friend. I have read his work, his novels and stories, all of it. These are masterpieces. How can I burn them?“

Rudi: „Masterpieces, you say. Then you must not burn them, Max. You must have them published.“

Max: „Against dear Franz’s wishes, Rudi?“

Rudi (thinks hard, then in an emphatic voice ): „I have it, Max. Publish Franz’s work and burn all your own.“

(aus Haaretz, via Literary Saloon).