Max Brod (1884-1968) was the best friend of Franz Kafka. The two met in Prague as university students in 1902. Thoughout their friendship, Brod continually encouraged Kafka to publish short stories. Kafka, knowing about his imminent death (1924) of tuberculosis, appointed Brod his literary executor. Kafka made Brod promise to burn all of the unfinished, unpublished works. Instead, Brod betrayed his wishes. He decided to edit and publish the books and stories himself.
Due to Brod's decision to betray this wish, the world was exposed to the existential genius of Kafka. Had he not, I would never have been able to read and re-read The Trial and The Castle, about K's surreal worlds of strange people and the random, dreamlike stories he created.
The other part of me wonders how much of these works are Kafka and which parts were edited by Brod? I know the titles were by Brod, I know that chapters of The Trial were arranged by Brod. I know that the endings of these stories are missing, compelling me to re-read, to search for the meaning, to find a different idea, a new phrase. I search and find many things in the words he writes, but when I remember, when I think about their incomplete selves, I wonder what is really missing. not to mention what I've lost in translation.
Kafka asked Brod to destroy the works, but Brod had the intense insight that the author didn't have. Despite the fact that parts are unfinished, we are still able to capture the essence, the message from these twisted tales. Yes, it was an injustice to Kafka but a utilitarian measure for the greatness of literary advancement everywhere. I cannot respect the measures, but I am grateful for the result.