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In June 2001, while working as a journalist, I covered an exhibition at the National Czech & Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, IA, titled “20th Century Sensations: Czechs-Slovaks-Popular Culture.” It highlighted individuals of Czech & Slovak ancestry who’d made significant contributions to contemporary American culture, including astronauts, athletes, and artists. One in particular, Franz Kafka, was of special interest — his surreal parables have transfixed me since I first discovered them as a teenager.

So, when a Univ. of Iowa lit professor who’d been scheduled to deliver a lecture about Kafka had to cancel due to illness, I volunteered to fill in.  The museum curators accepted my offer, and this e-book is a transcription of my presentation, which gives an overview of Kafka’s biography, historical context, and his unique position in American popular culture, including Hollywood.