Max Brod


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Brod, Max

 

Born May 27, 1884, in Prague; died Dec. 22, 1968, in Tel Aviv. Austrian writer and critic. Born into a Jewish family.

Brod was a lawyer by education. In 1939 he emigrated to Palestine. Brod is the author of the expressionist novels The Redemption of Tycho Brahe (1916) and The Great Risk (1919) and of the dramas Queen Esther (1917) and Lord Byron Goes out of Style (1929). Some of his novels, such as The Jewish Women (1911) and Reubeni, Prince of the Jews (1925), are pervaded by the idea of religious missionary work. The autobiographical novel Rebellious Hearts (1957), the autobiography A Militant Life (1960), and the collections The Starry Sky of Prague: Music and Theater Reminiscences of the Theater of the 20’s (1966) and On the Beauty of Outrageous Pictures: A Guide for Romantics of Our Time (1913, 1967) depict the literary, theatrical, and musical life of Austria, Germany, and Czechoslovakia in the first third of the 20th century. Brod was a friend of F. Kafka and the trustee of his manuscripts; he published his works (1935) and letters (1958) and wrote a monograph about him (1966).

WORKS

Ausgewählte Romane und Novellen, vols. 1-6. Leipzig [1919].
In Russian translation:
“Gugo.” Russkaia mysl’, 1913, nos. 6-9.

REFERENCES

Dichter, Denker, Helfer: Max Brod zum 50. Geburtstag. Published by F. Wetsch. [no place, 1934.]
Schümann, K. M. Brod. … In Im Bannkreis von Gesicht und Wirken. Munich, 1959.

N. B. VESELOVSKAIA

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Kafka's "Germanness," and the reasons for it, have come to the fore recently in an ongoing controversy over the destiny of a package of Kafka papers that passed to his friend Max Brod, thence to Max Brod's secretary (and supposed lover) Esther Hoffe, who died in 2007 aged 101.
His friend Max Brod took them from Poland to Palestine in 1939, and some of them ended up being in the possession of his secretary/lover Esther Hoff, who died in 2007.
Do read Elif Batuman's Times Magazine feature on the battle over Franz Kafka's extant papers, which pits the maybe-heirs of Kafka's literary executor, Max Brod, against the state of Israel; a museum in (of all places) Germany is involved as well.
The case boils down to the interpretation of the will of Max Brod, Kafka's longtime friend and publisher.
La obra de Katka, por ejemplo, se pudo conocer gracias a los esfuerzos incondicionales de su amigo Max Brod, quien unio, anadio, titulo, agrupo y modifico muchas de las historias.
The book's German-language title translates as "Menorah, Jewish Magazine for Science, Art and Literature (1923-1932): Materials on the History of a Viennese Zionist Journal." The journal under investigation originally had matching bilingual subtitles as "Illustrated Monthly for the Jewish Home/Illustrierte Monatsschrift fur die Judische Familie." The use of English may have been in part a tip of the hat to New York's Menorah Journal founded in 1915 (later boasting such contributors as Louis Brandeis, Max Brod, Martin Buber, Felix Frankfurter, Luigi Pirandello, and Isaac Bashevis Singer), to which the Viennese journal shows clear parallels and with which it shares similar Jewish cultural goals.
The elderly sisters were passed on the manuscripts by their mum Esther Hoffe, who was the secretary of Kafka's friend and executor, Max Brod.
In his will, Kafka enjoined his executor, Max Brod, to destroy the majority of his oeuvre, though there's good reason to believe he secretly wished the command to be disobeyed.
Franz Kafka's Trial, written in 1914-15, was published only many years after his death; just one section of it, the short parable "Before the Law," appeared in the Journal Selbstwehr, "Self-Defense," published by Kafka's Zionist friends of Prague, Max Brod and Felix Weltsch.
Max Brod's publication of Kafka's diaries in 1948 and an appreciative essay by Felix Weltsch in 1956 entitled "The Rise and Fall of the German-Jewish Symbiosis: The Case of Franz Kafka" resurrected an unknown Kafka--Kafka the Jewish writer.
After Max Brod, whose long essay written while the composer was still alive was the first of a series of Janacek monographs, the most valuable is definitely Helfert's unfinished work (Leos Janacek.