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Why is Gen Z obsessed with Kafka?

The Austro-Hungarian writer enjoys a renaissance thanks to TikTok

Why is Gen Z obsessed with Kafka? The Austro-Hungarian writer enjoys a renaissance thanks to TikTok

A hundred years after his death, Franz Kafka is making an unexpected comeback, propelled by a wave of viral fascination on TikTok. Yes, the same social network where "get ready with me" and lip-sync challenges reign supreme has chosen the leader of existential angst as its favorite author. How can we explain that Kafka, whose work was once associated with austere academic readings, is now at the heart of discussions on Gen Z's favourite social media?

@book24lover #franzkafka #kafka #meme #booktok #books #literature #metamorfosis #metamorphosis #fy original sound - illegalbugtrader

Born in Prague in 1883, the author lived a life marked by isolation and a constant struggle with his identity in a rapidly changing world. His novels such as "The Metamorphosis", where a man transforms into a coackroach, or "The Trial", which explores the absurdity of the judicial system, seem to resonate with the condition of today's youth. Kafka, through his isolated characters, reflects intense inner experiences that are perfectly in tune with our current concerns. On TikTok, where one might expect light content, the hashtag #Kafka has sparked a real storm, garnering over one billion views. This is not just a fleeting trend, but a cultural phenomenon that defies expectations and revives the literary legacy of a writer who would have likely struggled to understand the era of social media. For a generation facing a hyperconnected yet paradoxically isolated society, these stories serve as a mirror, reflecting their own struggles against social pressure, loneliness, and the complex expectations of modern life.

@exitexistencialcrisis He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn’t yet lived. - Franz Kafka #franzkafka #fypシ #fypシ゚viral original sound - Exit Existential Crisis

Why Kafka? Because his characters, such as Gregor Samsa transformed into an insect in "The Metamorphosis," capture the true essence of modern isolation. Young TikTokers see themselves in these tormented figures, trying to navigate a world where authenticity is often lost in an ocean of selfies and carefully crafted statuses. As one user put it, «getting out of bed is our own daily metamorphosis struggle.» Another aspect that has captivated audiences is the author's vision of love and relationships. In his writings, relationships are rarely simple and linear, but rather filled with doubts, misunderstandings, and unfulfilled desires. Although born in an era marked by rigid social conventions, he addressed relational themes in a way that surprisingly resonates with contemporary values. In a world where polyamory is becoming an increasingly accepted reality, he seems almost prophetic with his complex explorations of human desires and emotional intricacies. His passionate letters to lovers such as Milena Jesenská reveal a sensitivity that transcends time, capturing the eternal struggle between heart and reason. This can only resonate with Gen Z, who particularly favor questioning traditional norms, love, and sexuality. Modern essays and biographies also rediscover Kafka in a new light, highlighting his lasting influence on contemporary thought and his power to challenge conventions. However, it is not only on TikTok that he is making a sensation. The sales of his works have tripled, a tangible proof that his work is finding a new resonance with a Generation K seeking truth and understanding in a world in perpetual change.