Among twentieth-century European writers, no one is darker—or funnier—than Franz Kafka. He was the practitioner of an avant-garde realism in which the everyday life of the modern city merges uncannily with the magical and sometimes nightmarish world of fairy tale and legend. Readings of selected stories, aphorisms, diaries, and letters in addition to the three novels: The Man Who Disappeared, The Trial, and The Castle. We will pay some consideration also to predecessors like Dostoevsky and Dickens and to successors like Beckett and Sebald.