Much lauded and influential Czech-born writer (1883-1924) whose man-turned-insect story Metamorphosis (1915) and novel The Trial (1925) have earned a permanent and prominent place in the canon of modern literature. Exceedingly rare mailing envelope hand-addressed and signed by Kafka, 6 x 4, addressed to his fiancee in Berlin, "Fraulein Felice Bauer, per Adr. Carl Lindstrom A.-G., Berlin 0-17," and signed in the return address on the flap, "Dr. F. Kafka, Prag. Poric 7," postmarked June 23, 1913. In fine condition, with tears to bottom edge from envelope opening.
Kafka met Felice Bauer for the first time in August 1912 at a dinner hosted by his friend Max Brod, and he soon began to send her letters almost daily. These were eventually collected and published as Letters to Felice. Lasting from September 1912 to October 1917, Kafka’s correspondence with Bauer overlapped with his writing The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and the beginning of his work on The Trial. He first asked for her hand in marriage shortly before the postmark date of this envelope, in a meandering letter of over twenty pages long that took him days to compose. Then, in a letter written from June 21st to 23rd, he explained that he feared she would be unhappy with him as a husband, especially if she could not tolerate his intense writing schedule. In a different letter, dated to June 23rd alone, Kafka expressed disgust with members of his family. One of these—both lending exceptional insight into Kafka's complex mind and his personal relationships—must have been the letter sent in this envelope. Despite two engagements during their period of correspondence, Kafka and Bauer would never marry. Few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime, and he passed away in obscurity from tuberculosis at age 40. His autograph is thus exceptionally rare and of the utmost desirability.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.