What happens when we heed a call? Few writers have been as suspicious of their vocation as Franz Kafka (1883–1924). His story, A Country Doctor, (1919) ostensibly about a night visit to a patient that goes badly wrong, suggests a modern writer's journey to the heart of his work. There he discovers that trust, like the tradition which might sustain him, is blighted. This essay also examines Kafka's attitude to illness and the medical profession, and his close relationship with his uncle, Siegfried Löwy (1867–1942), a country doctor in Moravia.
- Franz Kafka
- German literature
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Iain Bamforth is a General Practitioner in Strasbourg, France.