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Oxford University in joint purchase of Franz Kafka letters

5th April 2011

A collection of letters by Franz Kafka has been jointly purchased by the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford and Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach (the German Literary Archive).

The culturally influential novelist was born in Prague in 1883 and died in Kierling, near Vienna, in 1924.

Most of his work was unfinished at the time of his death and was published posthumously, such as The Castle and The Trial.

The collection of his letters was set to go to auction in Germany, but Oxford and the German Literary Archive reached an agreement with the sellers.

It includes more than 100 letters, postcards and picture postcards, the majority of which were sent to his youngest sister Ottla.

Richard Ovenden, associate director and keeper of special collections at the Bodleian Libraries, said: 'The joint purchase of Kafka's Ottla letters is a cause for celebration for international scholarship.'

Kafka's other works include The Metamorphosis, The Sons and In the Penal Colony

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