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Friday, July 05, 2013

Kafka and Stuff

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The first work of Kafka that I read was In der Strafkolonie (In the Penal Colony), in a Romanian translation. I was a student at the Polytechnics and one day, as I was visiting a schoolmate, I saw on his desk a literary magazine. I started to browse the magazine, and Kafka's story was in it, together with a pretty long essay about the author. I began reading the essay, and my colleague observed that I should start directly with the work of Kafka, rather than with an essay on him. He was by all means right: Zweifellosigkeit, as the Prague Master would undoubtedly have said (maybe I should explain the word, in a future post, all in good time).

There is an essay about Kafka in NY Times, very informative. I'd give here a paragraph from it (though I wouldn't consider, this time, the opinion as irrefutably zweifelsfrei):

New translations will appear. (The translations into English of Kafka’s writings by the Scottish couple Willa and Edwin Muir, to which a generation is deeply indebted, have been considered old-fashioned and not definitive for some time now — too elegant and smoothly readable, too much arising from a Kierkegaardian Calvinism and not enough from a Talmudic Judaism.) Massive biographies might at last be completed. For we must know Kafka. It is not enough to know, to live, to be intimate with the ­Kafkaesque.

But you should read the whole enchilada:

(German and Nordic Literature)



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