Prague through the Eyes of Kafka



Franz Kafka (1883-1924) first met Milena Jesenská (1896-1944) when she worked as the Czech translator of his early short prose work. In April 1920, he began a correspondence from a pension in Meran, which extended through March 1924, three months before his death. In one of the early letters, he describes his fears as a young boy of six walking across Prague to the elementary school.

Letters to Milena was published in New York and Frankfurt in 1953, edited by Willi Haas. The photographic essay, Prague Through Kafka’s Eyes, was shot by Ruth Ivor (1912-2008) while on assignment for Life magazine in 1965 and left on deposit at Princeton University Library in 1980.

With sincere thanks to the Ruth Ivor Foundation, a complete set of Ms. Ivor’s Prague photographs is now a permanent part of our Graphic Arts Collection. These are a few examples.

Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Letters to Milena. Edited by Willi Haas; translated by Tania and James Stern (New York: Schocken Books [c1953]) Firestone Library (F) PT2621.A26 Z5513 1953.

Margarete Buber-Neumann (1901-1989), Mistress to Kafka: the Life and Death of Milena; introduction by Arthur Koestler (London: Secker & Warburg, 1966). Firestone Library (F) PT2621.A26 Z6463 1966