So, I have Kafka's Letters to Milena (in an unprepossessing Minerva paperback edition) and his Letters to Felice (in a nice, fat, old Penguin paperback with an introduction by Elias Canetti).

I now note that there are two other collections in the world: Letters to Friends, Family and Editors and Letters to Ottla and the Family. Are these the same? Or do I need to get both of them? Advice please!

Readers Comments

  1. I do believe there's some overlap, though the Letters to Friends, Family and Editors is by far the more important title. Of course the absolutely most important are the ones to Felice and then Milena. And don't forget the all-important diaries, and a little volume of conversations collected by Gustav Janouch.

  2. I hate it when there is a new edition of something I-might-or-might-not-already-have-read-depending-on-what-is-included. This happened with the new daniil kharms, as I had read a collection of his work earlier and was unsure as to what was new in the new one. In the end I just gave in and bought it without checking. Arggh. I am about to give up on collections like this unless I know they are definitive.

  3. Nicholas Murray Tuesday 15 January 2008

    Just to complicate matters the German edition of the letters to Milena were re-edited and re-dated here and there but the current English translations are still working to the old text. In addition there is a major edition of the letters being published volume by volume on German which has yet to be translated. The Letters to Ottla and the Family are completely different from the ones in "To friends, family and editors" so you need both. Milena, by the way, was Kafka's most insightful critic in my view. I think she understood him and his "fear" better than anyone.

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