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.
This is more than simply a fresh version of Kafka’s most famous stories. With a brilliant introduction and useful notes, it’s a feast for all serious readers of modern literature. Mark Harman adds immensely to our understanding and appreciation of Kafka as he pries open and recreates the major tales in ways not seen since Edwin and Willa Muir’s first translations. A stunning book.
Mark Harman’s translations of Kafka are brilliant. After making all of us look at Amerika: The Missing Person through new eyes, he now makes us see the most canonical, influential tales anew, through a twenty-first-century sensibility. Harman’s notes are meticulous and clear, reflecting his deep knowledge of the texts and their place in Kafka’s world. Selected Stories has the quality we recognize from his earlier work—clarity and readability for our age.
- 304 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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