Deutsches Haus presents a reading by Reiner Stach from his recent nonfiction book "Is that Kafka? 99 Finds," followed by a conversation between the author and the acclaimed translator of the book, Kurt Beals.

"Is That Kafka?"
"Is That Kafka?"

On Friday, November 11, at 6:30 p.m., Deutsches Haus at NYU (42 Washington Mews, New York, N.Y.) will presents a reading by Reiner Stach from his recent nonfiction book Is that Kafka? 99 Finds, followed by a conversation between the author and the acclaimed translator of the book, Kurt Beals.

In the course of compiling his highly acclaimed three-volume biography of Kafka, while foraying to libraries and archives from Prague to Israel, Reiner Stach made one astounding discovery after another: unexpected photographs, inconsistencies in handwritten texts, excerpts from letters, and testimonies from Kafka's contemporaries that shed surprising light on his personality and his writing. Is that Kafka? presents the crystal granules of the real Kafka: he couldn't lie, but he tried to cheat on his high-school exams; bitten by the fitness fad, he avidly followed the regime of a Danish exercise guru; he drew beautifully; he loved beer; he read biographies voraciously; he made the most beautiful presents, especially for children; odd things made him cry or made him furious; he adored slapstick. Every discovery by Stach turns on its head the stereotypical version of the tortured neurotic—and as each one chips away at the monolithic dark Kafka, the keynote, of all things, becomes laughter.

For Is that Kafka? Stach has assembled 99 of his most exciting discoveries, culling the choicest, most entertaining bits, and adding his knowledgeable commentaries. Illustrated with dozens of previously unknown images, this volume is a singular literary pleasure.

"A mishmash of ephemera, curiosities and confessionals, the finds range from the banal to the deeply personal, yet collectively paint as engaging and illustrative a portrait of the artist as any I’ve read."
— Pasha Malla, Globe and Mail

Reiner Stach is an author, Kafka-biographer, publisher and publicist who was born in Rochlitz, East Germany, in 1951, and who began his career as an editor of scientific journals and nonfiction books. Over the years, Stach has written numerous biographical books on Franz Kafka, including his acclaimed three-part series Kafka – The Decisive Years (2002), Kafka – The Years of Insight (2008), and Kafka – The Early Years (2014). In 2003, he was awarded the Cultural Award of the Regional Association of Osnabrück. Additionally, he won the special prize of the Heimito von Doderer-Literaturpreis in 2008, for his biography Kafka – The Years of Insight.

Kurt Beals is Assistant Professor of German at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his PhD in German from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. His research focuses on experimental movements in 20th-century and contemporary German poetry, including Dada, Concrete poetry, and digital poetry or Netzliteratur. He focuses on the ways that these movements incorporate, respond to, and reflect on contemporaneous developments in media technologies and information theory. He has written articles on authors including George Grosz, Paul Celan, and Regina Ullmann, and on the filmmaker Hans Richter. He is also co-editor of the volume Hans Richters Rhythmus 21: Schlüsselfilm der Moderne. In addition, he has translated a wide range of works from German into English, including a volume of poetry by the contemporary German poet Anja Utler, and The Country Road (2015), a collection of stories by the Swiss author Regina Ullmann.

Reiner Stach’s Is that Kafka? 99 Finds was published by New Directions in March 2016. Copies of Is that Kafka? 99 Finds will be sold at the event by Greenlight Bookstore.

Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. If you would like to attend this event, please send us an email to deutscheshaus.rsvp@nyu.edu. Space at Deutsches Haus is limited; please arrive ten minutes prior to the event. For further information, please call 212.998.8660.

"Is that Kafka? 99 Finds:" An Evening with Reiner Stach and Kurt Beals is a DAAD-sponsored event, and is presented in collaboration with New Directions, and the logistical support of Barbara Perlmutter, literary agent.

Press Contact

Robert Polner
Robert Polner
(212) 998-2337