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Franz Kafka (1883-1924) is one of the most influential of modern authors, whose darkly fascinating novels and stories - where themes such as power, punishment and alienation loom large - have become emblematic of modern life. This Introduction offers a clear and accessible account of Kafka's life, work and literary influence and overturns many myths surrounding them. His texts are in fact far more engaging, diverse, light-hearted and ironic than is commonly suggested by cliches of 'the Kafkaesque'. And, once explored in detail, they are less difficult and impenetrable than is often assumed. Through close analysis of their style, imagery and narrative perspective, Carolin Duttlinger aims to give readers the confidence to (re-)discover Kafka's works without constant recourse to the mantras of critical orthodoxy. In addition, she situates Kafka's texts within their wider cultural, historical and political contexts illustrating how they respond to the concerns of their age, and of our own.