'Kafka: Making of an Icon'


5 May - 27 October 2024


Weston Library, Oxford


The exhibition, Kafka: Making of an Icon, is curated by Professor Carolin Duttlinger. It marks the 100th anniversary of the author’s death, celebrating his achievements and creativity, and how he continues to inspire new literary, theatrical and cinematic creations around the world.

The exhibition will feature materials from the archives of the Bodleian Libraries, which hold the majority of Franz Kafka's papers, including literary notebooks, drawings, diaries, letters, postcards, glossaries, and photographs. Notably, the notebooks in the archive include the original manuscripts of two of Kafka’s unfinished novels, Das Schloss (The Castle) and Der Verschollene (America), as well as a number of short stories.

Using this rich archive, the exhibition not only sets Kafka in the context of his life and times but also shows how his own experiences nourished his imagination. His notebooks show how his travels in Western Europe enabled him to practise descriptive writing, while his readings strengthened his fascination with remote spaces and made him aware of European colonialism.

This exhibition is curated by Professor Carolin Duttlinger, Professor in German and Ockenden Fellow, Tutor in German, and Co-Director of the Oxford Kafka Research Centre; Professor Katrin M. Kohl, Co-Director of the Oxford Kafka Research Centre; Professor Barry Murnane, Co-Director of the Oxford Kafka Research Centre; Dr Meindert Peters, Leverhulme Research Fellow at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages; and Dr Karolina Watroba, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. It is supported by Malgorzata Czepiel, Curator of the Kafka Archive at the Bodleian Libraries.