Max Brod

Bohemian-Israeli author, composer, and journalist

Max Brod (May 27, 1884December 20, 1968) was a German-speaking Czech Jew, later Israeli, author, composer, and journalist. Although he was a prolific writer in his own right, he is best remembered as the friend and biographer of Franz Kafka. As Kafka's literary executor, Brod refused to follow the writer's instructions to burn his life's work, and had them published instead.

Max Brod in 1965


  • After years of trial and error Franz [Kafka] has at last found the only diet that suits him, the vegetarian one. For years he suffered from his stomach; now he is as healthy and as fit as I have ever known him. Then along come his parents, of course, and in the name of love try to force him back into eating meat and being ill—it is just the same with his sleeping habits. At last he has found what suits him best, he can sleep, can do his duty in that senseless office, and get on with his literary work. But then his parents... This really makes me bitter.
    • Letter to Felice Bauer (22 November 1912), in Letters to Felice by Franz Kafka, translated by James Stern and Elizabeth Duckworth (New York: Shocken Books, 2016), p. 57.
  • Once he [Kafka] went to the Berlin aquarium … Suddenly he began to speak to the fish in their illuminated tanks, "Now at last I can look at you in peace, I don't eat you any more." It was the time that he turned strict vegetarian. If you have never heard Kafka saying things of this sort with his own lips, it is difficult to imagine how simply and easily, without any affectation, without the least sentimentality—which was something almost completely foreign to him—he brought them out. Among my notes I find something else that Kafka said about vegetarianism. He compared vegetarians with the early Christians, persecuted everywhere, everywhere laughed at, and frequenting dirty haunts. "What is meant by its nature for the highest and the best, spreads among the lowly people."
    • Franz Kafka: A Biography, translated by G. Humphreys Roberts and Richard Winston (New York: Schocken Books, 1960), p. 74.
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