||Max Brod (1884–1968), Czech-born German author and composer. Born in Prague, Brod studied law at the German university there and then entered the Czech civil service. In 1924 he joined the Prager Tagblatt as theatrical and musical editor. He helped found the National Council of Jews of Czechoslovakia in 1918, and became active in the Zionist movement. In 1939, he settled in Tel Aviv and worked as a music critic and drama adviser to Habimah.
Brod's prolific writings include poetry, fiction, plays, literary criticism, and essays on philosophy, politics, and Zionism. The fundamental thought in all his writing is the problem of dualism, i.e., the difficulty of reconciling a belief in G-d with the evil that exists in the world. Man's task, he believes, is to strive toward perfection. Judaism, which represents the "miracle of this world," is a critical stage on this road as opposed to the "continuation of this world" in paganism and the "negation of this world" in Christianity. This is propounded in his most influential philosophical work, Heidentum, Christentum, Judentum, 2 vols. (1921). Brod's best-known writings are his 20 novels, some of them romantic, others historical. The former include Schloss Nornepygge (1908), Juedinnen (1911), Arnold Beer: Das Schicksal eines Juden (1912), Die Frau, nach der man sich sehnt (1927), and Die verbotene Frau (1960); among the latter are Tycho Brahes Weg zu Gott (1916; The Redemption of Tycho Brahe, 1928); Reubeni, Fuerst der Juden (1925); Galilei in Gefangenschaft (1948); Unambo (1949), about the Israel War of Independence; Der Meister (1949) - another version of this book about Jesus appeared in Hebrew in 1956 with the title Ahot Ketannah - and Armer Cicero (1955). Brod's plays include Eine Koenigin Esther (1918), Die Retterin (1919), Die Faelscher (1920), and Klarissas halbes Herz (1923). He also wrote a biography of Heine (1934).
Brod was the first person to recognize the unique quality of his friend Franz Kafka, about whom he wrote his novel Das Zauberreich der Liebe (1928; The Kingdom of Love, 1930). It was Brod who arranged the publication of Kafka's works after the novelist's death. His biography of Kafka appeared in 1937. He also revealed the genius of Jaroslav Hasek, author of The Good Soldier Schweik, and of the composers Leon Janacek (whose biography he published in 1924–25) and Jaromir Weinberger, publishing German translations of Janacek's Jenufa (1918) and Weinberger's Schwanda the Bagpiper.
Many of Brod's books and plays were translated into Hebrew and together with Shin Shalom he wrote two dramatic works in Hebrew: Sha'ul, Melekh Yisrael ("Saul, King of Israel," 1944) and the libretto to Marc Lavry's opera Dan ha-Shomer (1945). Max Brod's musical compositions include a piano quintet, Requiem Hebrascum (words by Shin Shalom), songs, piano pieces, and Israel dances. Brod's last works were his autobiography, Streitbares Leben (1960) and reminiscences, Der Prager Kreis (1967).