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Selected Stories

Franz Kafka

Edited and translated by Mark Harman

ISBN 9780674737983

Publication date: 05/21/2024

A superb new translation of Kafka’s classic stories, authoritatively annotated and beautifully illustrated.

Selected Stories presents new, exquisite renderings of short works by one of the indisputable masters of the form. Award-winning translator and scholar Mark Harman offers the most sensitive English rendering yet of Franz Kafka’s unique German prose—terse, witty, laden with ambiguities and double meanings. With his in-depth biographical introduction and notes illuminating the stories and placing them in context, Harman breathes new life into masterpieces that have often been misunderstood.

Included are sixteen stories, arranged chronologically to convey a sense of Kafka’s artistic development. Some, like “The Judgment,” “In the Penal Colony,” “A Hunger Artist,” and “The Transformation” (usually, though misleadingly, translated as “The Metamorphosis”), represent the pinnacle of Kafka’s achievement. Accompanying annotations highlight the wordplay and cultural allusions of the original German, pregnant with irony and humor that English readers have often missed.

Although Kafka has frequently been cast as a loner, in part because of his quintessential depictions of modern alienation, he had a number of close companions. Harman draws on Kafka’s diaries, extensive correspondence, and engagement with early twentieth-century debates about Darwinism, psychoanalysis, and Zionism to construct a rich portrait of Kafka in his world. A work of both art and scholarship, Selected Stories transforms our understanding and appreciation of a singular imagination.


  • Mark Harman is the finest living Kafka translator, and this new volume is a trove of riches. The introduction is enlightening, the notes are invaluable, and of course the prose is a constant delight. No one else brings Kafka to life so vividly and so elegantly.

    —John Banville, Booker Prize–winning author of The Sea


  • Mark Harman is Professor Emeritus of German and English at Elizabethtown College. His award-winning translations include Franz Kafka’s Amerika: The Missing Person and The Castle, as well as Herman Hesse’s Soul of the Age: Selected Letters and Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.

Book Details

  • 304 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press