Monday, July 12, 2010

Wonderful Disobedience

Today's hero is another fellow pulled off the reserve bench since today was lacking in its own bona fide hero. His name is Max Brod, and his actual birthday was May 17th, 1884, and he was born in Prague when it was still a part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. It is no shame that M. Brod was unable to break onto the hero podium on his actual birthday, since the hero for that day was another author by the name of Louis-Ferdinand Celine.

He was a rather prolific writer in his own right, but his major claim to fame, and the reason I deem him hero worthy is for his role as Franz Kafka's literary executor. He first met Kafka in 1902, when they were both students at the same university. From that first meeting a deep friendship grew, and they would meet almost daily until Kafka's death. It was Kafka's death that gave our boy Brod the chance to make his wonderful contribution to the world of literature. Kafka told Brod to burn all of his papers, and writings, and Brod told him that he would not do such a horrible thing. Brod took those wonderful writings, and had them published, thus saving some of the world's best literature from the flames. His defense to his disobeying his dying friend's last wishes was that he had told Kafka he would not burn his papers, and Kafka did not replace him as his executor. So for that wonderful disobedience that saved some damn fine literature, Max Brod (May 27th, 1884-December 20th, 1968, at the age of 84) you are my (323rd) hero of the day.

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