Kafka first made the acquaintance of Milena Jesenska in 1920 when
she was translating his early short prose into Czech, and their
relationship quickly developed into a deep attachment. Such was his
feeling for her that Kafka showed her his diaries and, in doing so,
laid bare his heart and his conscience. Milena, for her part, was
passionate and intrepid, cool and intelligent in her decisions but
reckless when her emotions were involved. Kafka once described her
as living her life 'so intensely down to such depths'. If she did
suffer through him, it was part of her great appetite for life.
However while at times Milena's 'genius for living' gave Kafka new
life, it ultimately exhausted him, and their relationship was to
last little over two years. Kafka died in 1944 at the hands of the
Nazis - these letters are a moving record of their relationship.