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The Castle: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text Paperback – Deckle Edge, Dec 15 1998
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They are perhaps the most famous literary instructions never followed: "Dearest Max, my last request: Everything I leave behind me ... in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others'), sketches, and so on, [is] to be burned unread...." Thankfully, Max Brod did not honor his friend Franz Kafka's final wishes. Instead, he did everything within his power to ensure that Kafka's work would find publication--including making some sweeping changes in the original texts. Until recently, the world has known only Brod's version of Kafka, with its altered punctuation, word order, and chapter divisions. Restoring much of what had previously been expunged, as well as the fluid, oral quality of Kafka's original German, Mark Harman's new translation of The Castle is a major literary event.
One of three unfinished novels left after Kafka's death, The Castle is in many ways the writer's most enduring and influential work. In Harman's muscular translation, Kafka's text seems more modern than ever, the words tumbling over one another, the sentences separated only by commas. Harman's version also ends the same way as Kafka's original manuscript--that is, in mid-sentence: "She held out her trembling hand to K. and had him sit down beside her, she spoke with great difficulty, it was difficult to understand her, but what she said--." For anyone used to reading Kafka in his artificially complete form, the effect is extraordinary; it is as if Kafka himself had just stepped from the room, leaving behind him a work whose resolution is the more haunting for being forever out of reach. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Upon his death in 1924, Kafka instructed his literary executor, Max Brod, to destroy all his manuscripts. Wisely refusing his friend's last wishes, Brod edited the uncompleted Castle, along with other unfinished works, ordering the fragments into a coherent whole, and had them published. Brod's interpretation of the work as a novel of personal salvation was accepted and strengthened by Willa and Edward Muir, who translated it into English in 1930. Recent scholarship, less willing to accept Brod's version, has led to a new critical edition of the novel, which was published in German in 1982 and which purports to be closer to Kafka's intentions. Harman's translation represents this edition's first appearance in English. Harman's stated goal as translator is to reproduce as closely as possible Kafka's style, which results in an English that is stranger and denser than the Muirs' elegant work. A necessary acquisition for anyone interested in Kafka.?Michael O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I first read this novel years ago when the only option in translation was the Muir translation. This new complete translation, which includes a large section that Kafka's friend and literary executor Max Brod decided to excise, transforms the novel into an entirely different book. For one thing, the section that Brod left out indicates even more vividly the degree to which the novel is concerned with depicting the more horrific aspects of modern bureaucratic life. For another, the manner in which the text simply breaks off in mid-sentence reinforces the nightmarish quality of the book, for just as we wake up from a dream, never able to complete the tale, so we break away from the narrative, never knowing what K.'s fate is.
The novel contains more a situation than a plot. K., a surveyor, arrives in a village having been hired by the local Castle, presumably to survey. Instead, K. quickly learns that he may not have been hired at all, and manages to break rapidly a number of laws of which he was utterly unaware and whose logic is far from obvious.Read more ›
The reader is told nothing of the internal thoughts of the protagonists, of their real motivations and objectives. There is no resolution to the multiple questions that arise from the plot. In fact, as the same events are often reported very differently by various characters, the reader is led to ponder about the relativity of truth.
Though challenging in its substance, this novel is easy to grasp and fully enjoyable.
It is strongly recommended to all who enjoy modernity.
Most recent customer reviews
This book can be read as an introduction to dystopian literature.
Joseph K. (the protagonist) arrives in a village and struggles to gain access to the mysterious authorities... Read more
I disagree with many of the reviews of this work. "The Castle" is deliberately cumbersome to get across the feeling of bureaucracy; this makes it perhaps a good read... Read morePublished on July 16 2004 by John Barkley
Outside of the Russian authors it's hard for me to think of an author I like more than Kafka. I own everything he's every written, whether I have read all of his stories is a... Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2004 by Alex Udvary
The Trial, written by Franz Kafka and published posthumously by Kafka's best friend, Max Brod, is hailed as Kafka's best work, and though it is very well written and very good,... Read morePublished on Dec 28 2003 by Nobody!
It is a pity that it wasn't until the book's abrupt end that my interest finally piqued. So many questions unanswered. Read morePublished on Aug. 19 2003
There's no denying it--the Castle is fragmentary, maddeningly slow-paced, and suddenly shifts gear at repeated points, with the undeniable suggestion that Kafka stumbled across... Read morePublished on June 15 2003 by 869516255
I would not buy this book if it were your first forray into the realm of Kafka. But the short stories first, then Amerika, then the trial, and then, if you could make it through... Read morePublished on March 9 2003 by Chris C.
Translation means everything! Over the years I've read much of Kafka especially during adolescence and into my early twenties when his worldview spoke most directly to my own... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2003 by hkrosnick
I wish to offer a friendly retort to reviewer Bob Newman, who states how Kafka would share excerpts of this book with his colleagues and would laugh out loud uproariously - and how... Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2002 by John K. Joachim