A rare interview with Max Brod

A rare interview with Max Brod


norman lebrecht

May 24, 2020

Kafka’s friend, polymath, composer, theatrical dramaturg.

Riveting interview.



  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    This was very interesting.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Fascinating….. and how beautiful is Brod’s way of formulating, a true literator.

    What an irony: because of the conflict Kafka had with his father, he left the family home and went to live in a small, cold and wet appartment, where he got ill – and which, in the end, killed him. A visionary author and, as Brod says, a moralist.

    I often had to think about Kafka’s work when analysing and writing about the Dutch music subsidy system. He would have found it hilarious.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Kafkaesque! A valuable, even an historic commentary.

    It must be a common Czech name. At Tower Records one day I had an interesting visitor from the Chicago Psychiatric Association. I asked his name. With a fiendish smile and gleaming eyes,he said “Kafka!” I said, “Of COURSE” and we both laughed.

    I think Kafka instructed that his mss. be destroyed, and that they were preserved by Max Brod, who helped get them published.

    I can’t read Kafka, or Dostoevsky other than the Zossima-Aloysha chapters of “Karamazov”, and was delighted that when someone gave Albert Einstein “Metamorphosis” to read, he returned it next day saying “Life is not that complicated,”

    • Mike Schachter says:

      It is for some!

      • John Borstlap says:

        Life is very easy – just read Wittgensteins’ “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” which begins with: “The world is all that is the case.” From that point, everything is unraveled bit by bit and it happens to be very simple indeed.

  • fred says:

    Max Brod : a giant even more so in the field of music, wonderful video

  • Mick the Knife says:

    Very interesting! And Kafka preferred American marches to Mahler’s 7th symphony.

  • Stephen Diviani says:

    Thank you! I’ve never before seen that interview. For some reason I’d got it into my head that the instruction to destroy all his writing was in Kafka’s will.

    ‘Consider me a dream’.

  • Edgar Self says:

    And from Franz Liszt: “Art is easy. Life is difficult.”

  • What a wonderful interview with Max Brod. The whole thing brings the real man, Kafka, alive and striving in his writing to be genuine and to transmit what he thought and felt and then let us wrestle with it. That’s how it should be, is, and I am at home with the point of view. I am much moved and inspired. Thank you.

  • Edgar Self says:

    I can’t find the date of the film. Does anyone know?

    I watched it with my German-speaking wife yesterday, which turned out to be Max Brod’s 136th birthday, admired his articulate intelligence, clear southern/Austrian German, laughing at some of his stories of Kafka. I’d like to have a transcript of the English translation, as I’m not bilingual and can’t keep up with the subtitles.

    Brod and his wife immigrated from Prague to Palestine in 1939, strong Zionists influenced by Martin Buber. Brod worked as journalist and dramaturg for what became the Israeli National Theatre, living until 1968 (Wiki).