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Franza Kafka was born of Jewish parents in Prague in 1883. After gaining his doctorate in law he worked for most of his life as as a respected official of a state insurance company where literature, of which he said he 'consisted', had to be pursued on the side. Only one collection of his stories was published in his lifetime, published in Penguin as The Transformation and Other Stories, and he asked his friend Max Brod to ensure that all the writings he left after his death were destroyed. Brod felt unable to comply however and following Kafka's untimely death in 1924 he undertook their publication.