Franz Kafka -- July 3, 1883 - June 3, 1924 Franz Kafka was born to middle-class Jewish parents in Prague, Czechoslovakia on July 3, 1883. He received a law degree at the University of Prague. After performing an obligatory year of unpaid service as law clerk for the civil and criminal courts, he obtained a position in the workman's compensation division of the Austrian government. Always neurotic, insecure, and filled with a sense of inadequacy, his writing is a search for personal fulfillment and understanding. He wrote very slowly and deliberately, publishing very little in his lifetime. At his death he asked a close friend to burn his remaining manuscripts, but the friend refused the request. Instead the friend arranged for publication Kafka's longer stories, which have since brought him worldwide fame and have influenced many contemporary writers. His works include The Metamorphosis, The Castle, The Trial, and Amerika. Kafka was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in August 1917. As his disease progressed, his throat became affected by the TB and he could not eat regularly because it was painful. He died from starvation in a sanatorium in Kierling, near Vienna, after admitting himself for treatment there on April 10, 1924. He died on June 3 at the age of 40.