Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka” as Want to Read:
The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  127 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
A comprehensive and interpretative biography of Franz Kafka that is both a monumental work of scholarship and a vivid, lively evocation of Kafka's world.
Hardcover, First edition, 496 pages
Published June 1st 1984 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published April 1st 1984)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Nightmare of Reason, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Nightmare of Reason

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 464)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Lynne King
Jul 19, 2015 Lynne King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this excellent book years ago and was just browsing through it after I had seen that Kall had marked it "as to read" and had made reference to Ernst Pawel's obituary.

I have so many books, especially biographies, that I have only read once. It takes something from another individual, in this case Kall, to cause me to re-visit a book.

I found Kafka to be such a complex idividual, especially in his relationships with women. His engagement (actually two) with Felice Bauer was stormy and then h
...more
Aberjhani
Jun 24, 2015 Aberjhani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of literary biography and history.
FOR THE LOVE OF A GENIUS NAMED KAFKA

Few twentieth century authors have had as widespread an impact on modern literature as Franz Kafka. Even fewer biographers have managed to serve their subject so well as Ernst Pawel does the eternally enigmatic Kafka in THE NIGHTMARE OF REASON: A LIFE OF FRANZ KAFKA.

If ever the term "tortured genius" was applicable to one of the giants of literary history, it was without question to the Prague-born Jewish author Franz Kafka. Born July 3, 1883, to this day Ka
...more
William Stobb
May 28, 2007 William Stobb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Milan Kundera, women who consider dating writers
It's interesting to learn about Franz Kafka in all these ways. His friends really liked him and thought he was funny, but when he was alone, he was paralyzed by insecurity and indecision. He tried to have girlfriends, and he sort of did, but he couldn't escape from the idea of his father. I feel bad for Franz Kafka, and grateful that he was able to complete his great works.
Alan Hall
Jun 22, 2013 Alan Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this during my Kafka obsession in my twenties - want to go to Prague on a Kafka pilgrimage one day. He never willingly left the city- ' the little mother has claws' he said of Prague
Loyd
Jul 19, 2009 Loyd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
An enlightening and somewhat disturbing biography of Franz Kafka. Well researched and terribly sad. It's hard to tell where the genius begins and the tortured soul ends.
Katherine Addison
I don't know enough about Franz Kafka to be able to tell whether this biography is as good as I think it is. But I found it excellent: lucidly well written, thoughtful, shiningly humane. Pawel sympathizes deeply with his subject, and he's perfectly honest about how hard it is to get an objective look at Kafka, trying to correct for his own self-hatred and despair on the one side and the programmatic hagiography of, for instance, Max Brod on the other. It does not hurt my opinion of this book tha ...more
Danne
Jun 06, 2015 Danne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It captures the "feel" of Kafka and his times quite well, and i did gain new insghts into the world of Kafka, a recommended reading for all Kafkaists, beginners as well as seasoned ones
Leon Perlman
Jun 24, 2015 Leon Perlman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goodreads rating 84
Alyssa Kilbury
Alyssa Kilbury marked it as to-read
Jul 28, 2016
Kasula Reddy
Kasula Reddy marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2016
Stephanie McGarrah
Stephanie McGarrah marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2016
Nithin Jacob Thomas
Nithin Jacob Thomas marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2016
Antón López
Antón López marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2016
Jillian Hoover
Jillian Hoover marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2016
Vivian
Vivian marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2016
Rana
Rana marked it as to-read
Jul 09, 2016
Kevin Neese
Kevin Neese rated it really liked it
Jul 08, 2016
Ravyn
Ravyn marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2016
Victoria Peipert
Victoria Peipert rated it really liked it
Jul 06, 2016
Eric
Eric marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2016
Sara Rietsch
Sara Rietsch marked it as to-read
Jul 04, 2016
Byron
Byron marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2016
Dawn Moore
Dawn Moore marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2016
J
J added it
Jun 10, 2016
Ahmed Samir
Ahmed Samir marked it as to-read
Jun 02, 2016
Wolf
Wolf rated it really liked it
Jun 02, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15 16 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Kafka: The Decisive Years
  • Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors
  • Franz Kafka: A Biography (Second Edition, Enlarged)
  • Marcel Proust: A Life
  • Conversations with Kafka
  • James Joyce: A Biography
  • Ralph Ellison: A Biography
  • Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece
  • Kafka
  • Reading Chekhov: A Critical Journey
  • Charles Dickens
  • Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives
  • Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music
  • Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years
  • E. M. Forster: A Life
  • Rimbaud: A Biography
  • Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life
  • Nikolai Gogol

Share This Book



“Common consensus is not thought but wishful thinking.” 4 likes
“Nothing expresses Kafka’s innermost sense of self more profoundly than his lapidary definition of “writing as a form of prayer”: he was a writer. Not a man who wrote, but one to whom writing was the only form of being, the only means of defying death in life.” 1 likes
More quotes…