Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Michele 2021



Wikipedia informs me that there's now a specific term for a Festschrift compiled and published by electronic means on the internet. It's called a Webfestschrift.

They also state that this German word has been naturalised so thoroughly into English that it no longer requires italics. But what exactly does it mean? I've defined it, in context, as a "write of celebration" - a series of essays or (as in this case) poems and short memoirs designed to mark the retirement of a great writer or scholar.

Since January I've been working - with the help of many friends and contributors - on a Festschrift to celebrate the life and work of New Zealand poet Michele Leggott on the occasion of her retirement from the University of Auckland. That site went live yesterday, on Michele's birthday.

Here's a link to it, along with a table of contents:




Michele Leggott: DIA (1994)

Michele 2021
A Birthday Festschrift for Michele Joy Leggott

(January 19 - October 18, 2021)

    Jack Ross: Preface: October 18, 2021
    About Michele

  1. John Adams: Michele, reading
  2. Rachel Blau DuPlessis: Dateline: Michele, in eight moments
  3. Pam Brown: mezzo cento
  4. Ruby Brunton: And Still the Earth is Round - Poem for Michele
  5. Janet Charman: haiku
  6. Lynley Edmeades: Listening In
  7. Frances Edmond: For Michele’s festschrift
  8. Martin Edmond: Michele Leggott
  9. Murray Edmond: After Gilgamesh: for michele
  10. Sue Fitchett: Homage to Michele Leggott who cured a comma addiction
  11. Paula Green: out of the dark
  12. Bernadette Hall: on adding up the loves of our lives
  13. David Howard: VIEW FINDER
  14. Bronwyn Lloyd: Adventures in the Archives
  15. Therese Lloyd: Regift
  16. Cilla McQueen: Poet-to-Poet
  17. John Newton: Big Projects for Poetry (& Criticism)
  18. Tim Page: Michele Festschrift
  19. Mary Paul: Rā whānau ki a koe, Michele
  20. Chris Price: Works and Days
  21. Jack Ross: The Gulf
  22. Lisa Samuels: Joy Division
  23. Tracey Slaughter: is there a goddess for this?
  24. Penny Somervaille: Dear Michele
  25. Helen Sword: Walking with Michele
  26. Fredrika van Elburg: Working with Michele
  27. Ann Vickery: Floating Largesse
  28. Susannah Whaley: Festschrift
  29. Michael Whittaker: My path to Michele
  30. Joanne Wilkes: Michele Leggott


Michele Leggott: Heartland (2014)



It's been great fun working on this project. By its very nature it had to be hush-hush, and I was very happy to learn from Michele yesterday that we had indeed succeeded in keeping it secret. Even people she was in touch with every day had managed to avoid dropping any hints.

Of course, it contains contributions by only a few of the people who would like to celebrate and remember Michele's influence on them. In that sense it's a start rather than a full-stop to a consideration of her career to date. Now she's retired from Academia, there'll be that much more time to work on her own projects and interests exclusively in future!

I hope you enjoy browsing through the various pieces we've included. The site includes a pictorial breakdown of Michele's publications (both print and online) which may come as quite a surprise to some. She's really had an extraordinary influence on many, many aspects of New Zealand culture over the past three or four decades.

There's certainly space for a more complete listing of her articles and shorter pieces, but I leave that for someone else in the future. This project was intended from the start to be more personal and less academic in focus, and hopefully that will make it more accessible to poetry-lovers everywhere.



Michele Leggott: Mezzaluna: Selected Poems (2020)





Thursday, October 07, 2021

Magister Ludi: Hermann Hesse



Nobel Prize Archive: Hermann Hesse (1946)

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1946 was awarded to Hermann Hesse "for his inspired writings which, while growing in boldness and penetration, exemplify the classical humanitarian ideals and high qualities of style."

It's quite easy to forget that sometimes.



Hermann Hesse: The Journey to the East (1932)


Garish paperback copies of Hermann Hesse's books are the discarded backdrop to so many people's memories of their brief spell in the counterculture that the anti-myth has grown up that he was just another peddler of facile half-truths like the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or (for that matter) another fallen idol, Aldous Huxley.



Aldous Huxley: The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell (1954 / 1956)


It was mostly the shorter, easier books which got read, however: Siddhartha, The Journey to the East - seldom the longer, more ponderously Germanic ones such as Narziss and Goldmund or The Glass Bead Game.



It's important to note, though, that there was a time, not so long ago, when Hesse was ranked by many (including myself) as one of the three greatest twentieth-century novelists writing in German - along with his fellow Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann and the incomparable Franz Kafka.



Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game (1943)


Did we all get it wrong? Was The Glass Bead Game never really on a level with The Trial or Buddenbrooks - let alone that more recent candidate for pole position, Robert Musil's The Man Without Qualities?

It's interesting to look back at the assessment of Hesse's work made by the Nobel Prize committee in that fateful year of 1946 to get some idea of just what they saw in him then, with the rubble of Hitler's Festung Europa lying all around them:
When at the beginning [of the First World War] he wanted to speak some words of peace and contemplation to his agitated colleagues and in his pamphlet used Beethoven’s motto, «O Freunde, nicht diese Töne» [Oh friends, not these tones], he aroused a storm of protest. He was savagely attacked by the German press and was apparently deeply shocked by this experience. He took it as evidence that the entire civilization of Europe in which he had so long believed was sick and decaying. Redemption had to come from beyond the accepted norms, perhaps from the light of the East, perhaps from the core hidden in anarchic theories of the resolution of good and evil in a higher unity. Sick and doubt-ridden, he sought a cure in the psychoanalysis of Freud, eagerly preached and practised at that time, which left lasting traces in Hesse’s increasingly bold books of this period.



Hermann Hesse [as Emil Sinclair]: Demian (1919)


Hesse had started his career with vaguely rebellious books about the constraints of conventional culture on the individual: books such as Unterm Rad (1905) [translated into English as 'The Prodigy', though the German actually means 'Under the Wheel'], which depicts the gradual breaking of the spirit of a gifted boy by schoolmasters and other enemies of originality.

Demian was a new departure for him, however - witness the fact that he published it under a pseudonym. It's the kind of book one could imagine Aleister Crowley writing if he'd had any real talent for fiction. Its sympathy with Occultism and a radical break with the 'natural order' which had left Europe burdened with more than ten million dead seem very appropriate to the year it was published, 1919.



Hermann Hesse: Steppenwolf (1927)


This personal crisis found its magnificent expression in the fantastical novel Der Steppenwolf (1927), an inspired account of the split in human nature, the tension between desire and reason in an individual who is outside the social and moral notions of everyday life. In this bizarre fable of a man without a home, hunted like a wolf, plagued by neuroses, Hesse created an incomparable and explosive book, dangerous and fateful perhaps, but at the same time liberating by its mixture of sardonic humour and poetry in the treatment of the theme ...
Certainly this account of Steppenwolf as an expression of post-war malaise makes a lot of sense. Hesse's dabbling with Freudianism and Eastern philosophies is also seen here as more of a necessary response to these paroxysms of a dying civilisation than a narrowly personal exploration of the self.

Hesse's Swedish panegyrists also make the important point that a novel such as Steppenwolf, which seemed so bizarre and trippy to readers in the 1960s, was really very much in the Middle-European Fantastic tradition:
Despite the prominence of modern problems Hesse ... preserves a continuity with the best German traditions; the writer whom this extremely suggestive story recalls most is E. T. A. Hoffmann, the master of the Elixiere des Teufels.


E. T. A. Hoffmann: Die Elixiere des Teufels / Klein Zaches (1815)


I'll refer you to my earlier blogpost on Hoffmann to give you some idea of what they had in mind.



Hermann Hesse: Siddhartha (1922)


Hesse’s maternal grandfather was the famous Indologist Gundert. Thus even in his childhood the writer felt drawn to Indian wisdom. When as a mature man he travelled to the country of his desire he did not, indeed, solve the riddle of life; but the influence of Buddhism soon entered his thought, an influence by no means restricted to Siddhartha (1922) the beautiful story of a young Brahman’s search for the meaning of life on earth.
The fact that this novel constituted many people's introduction to the entire field of Eastern thought means that it's bound to show signs of age after more than a century. It's still a very readable book, though, and while it could be accused of superficiality, it's hard to think of any other which remains so charming and accessible while having such evident designs on the reader.

The Nobel committee, too, clearly had certain reservations about this syncretist aspect of Hesse's more philosophical writings, but they conclude by giving him the benefit of the doubt:
Hesse’s work combines so many influences from Buddha and St. Francis to Nietzsche and Dostoevsky that one might suspect that he is primarily an eclectic experimenter with different philosophies. But this opinion would be quite wrong. His sincerity and his seriousness are the foundations of his work and remain in control even in his treatment of the most extravagant subjects.


Hermann Hesse: Das Glasperlenspiel (1943)


In Hesse’s more recent work the vast novel Das Glasperlenspiel (1943) [The Glass Bead Game] occupies a special position. It is a fantasy about a mysterious intellectual order, on the same heroic and ascetic level as that of the Jesuits, based on the exercise of meditation as a kind of therapy. ... Hesse’s attitude is ambiguous. In a period of collapse it is a precious task to preserve the cultural tradition. But civilization cannot be permanently kept alive by turning it into a cult for the few. If it is possible to reduce the variety of knowledge to an abstract system of formulas, we have on the one hand proof that civilization rests on an organic system; on the other, this high knowledge cannot be considered permanent. It is as fragile and destructible as the glass pearls themselves, and the child that finds the glittering pearls in the rubble no longer knows their meaning.


Hermann Hesse: Magister Ludi (1949)


I suppose, in the end, that's what it comes down to: your opinion of the above novel - whether translated as Magister Ludi [Master of the Game] by Mervyn Savill in 1949, or as The Glass Bead Game by Richard and Clara Winson in 1969.

Does Hesse's book really pose an eternal problem: the human dichotomy between (on the one hand) the ascetic and scholarly, with its risk of dryness and pedantry, and (on the other) the instinctive and emotional, with its risk of Dionysian excess? All that can be found already in Nietzsche, who makes a brief appearance in the text as the protagonist Joseph Knecht's - Josef K., anyone? - somewhat unstable friend Fritz Tegularius.

Others of his contemporaries and near-contemporaries to be found in its pages include Thomas Mann himself (as "Thomas van der Trave", Joseph Knecht's predecessor as Magister Ludi), Swiss Historian Jakob Burckhardt (as the Benedictine monk "Father Jacobus"), and Heinrich Perrot, the owner of a machine shop where Hesse worked after dropping out of school (as the Glass Bead Game's inventor "Bastian Perrot").

Does The Glass Bead Game make the most sense, then, if one sees it as a post-war Dystopia posing as a distant Utopia? If so, the author has stated his own position far less clearly than Huxley and Orwell, his near-contemporaries, in their far darker fables Brave New World and Nineteen-Eighty-Four. But maybe that makes it even more of a book for our own time? I fear that the jury's still out on that one.

Certainly, my understanding of the novel has changed over the years. There was a time when nothing seemed more paradisal to me than Hesse's description of Castalia. Now, having done quite a bit more living in the meantime, Knecht's motivation for making a break from the formalism of the game makes much better sense to me.

It's a long novel, and a densely layered one - but then the same is true of both The Magic Mountain and The Castle. I remain to be convinced that it shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath with them. Naturally all three writers must continue to have their own distinct constituencies, mind you.



Hermann Hesse: Poems, trans. James Wright (1970)


If Hesse’s reputation as a prose writer varies, there has never been any doubt about his stature as a poet. Since the death of Rilke and George he has been the foremost German poet of our time. He combines exquisite purity of style with moving emotional warmth, and his musical form is unsurpassed in our time. He continues the tradition of Goethe, Eichendorf, and Mörike and renews its poetic magic by a colour peculiar to himself ...



Richard Strauss (1864-1949)


I suppose that it comes as news to most of us that Hesse was ever thought of as "the foremost German poet of our time" - a fitting successor to Stefan George and Rainer Maria Rilke! But then, the first appearance of Paul Celan's "Todesfuge" [Death Fugue] was still two years off in 1946 ...

Luckily, Richard Strauss's breathtaking Four Last Songs (1950) gives us some idea of the inspiration he found in Hesse's poetry.
Strauss had come across the poem "Im Abendrot" by Joseph von Eichendorff, which he felt had a special meaning for him. He set its text to music in May 1948. Strauss had also recently been given a copy of the complete poems of Hermann Hesse and was strongly inspired by them. He set three of them – "Frühling", "September", and "Beim Schlafengehen" – for soprano and orchestra, and contemplated setting two more, "Nacht" and "Höhe des Sommers", in the same manner ... The overall title Four Last Songs was provided by Strauss's friend Ernst Roth, the chief editor of Boosey & Hawkes, when he published all four songs as a single unit in 1950, and in the order that most performances now follow: "Frühling", "September", "Beim Schlafengehen", "Im Abendrot".


Richard Strauss: Vier letze Lieder (1950)


If you've never listened to it, you really should. Here's a link to Jessye Norman's epic performance of the entire work on YouTube.



Steppenwolf (c.1967-72)


So, on the one hand we have Steppenwolf the rock band, most famous for their 1968 anthem "Born to be Wild," one of two songs (the other was "The Pusher") featured on the soundtrack of the classic counterculture movie Easy Rider (1969).

On the other hand, we have the stirring strains of "2001: A Space Odyssey" Strauss's settings of some of Hermann Hesse's gentler lyrics.

I think I'll have to leave the implications of comics maestro Jack Kirby's choice of the name "Steppenwolf" for one of the principal villains on his dark planet of Apokolips - seen most recently in the DC movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) - to a more informed commentator, however ...



Is any real reconciliation possible between these two approaches to the legacy of Hermann Hesse? Does he have a lasting legacy, in fact? I think so, yes. He may never approach the heights of respectability implied by that Nobel Prize eulogy again, but that's probably a good thing. If he stood for anything, he stood for rebellion against constituted authority, and the consequent need for a personal quest for new ethical standards to live by.

Some of the directions he himself went in may seem a little dated now, but the astonishing thing is how many of them don't. His rebellious alternatives have become, for many, now - in the age of climate change and the catastrophic failure of so many of our comfortable certitudes - the accepted middle of the road.







Keystone-France / Gamma-Rapho / Getty: Hermann Hesse (2018)


    Hermann Karl Hesse (1877-1962)


    Novels:

  1. Peter Camenzind. ['Peter Camenzind', 1904]. Trans. W. J. Strachan. 1961. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.
  2. The Prodigy. ['Unterm Rad', 1905]. Trans. W. J. Strachan. 1961. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973.
  3. Gertrude. ['Gertrud'. 1910]. Trans. Hilda Rosner. 1969. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1972.
  4. Rosshalde. ['Roßhalde', 1914]. Trans. Ralph Manheim. 1970. London: Picador, 1973.
  5. Knulp: Three Tales from the Life of Knulp. ['Knulp', 1915]. Trans. Ralph Manheim. 1971. London: Picador, 1974.
  6. [as Emil Sinclair] Demian. ['Demian', 1919]. Trans. W. J. Strachan. 1960. Frogmore, St Albans: Panther Books, 1975.
  7. Klingsor’s Last Summer. ['Klingsors letzter Sommer', 1920]. Trans. Richard & Clara Winston. 1970. London: Picador, 1973.
  8. Siddhartha. ['Siddhartha', 1922]. Trans. Hilda Rosner. 1954. London: Picador, 1976.
  9. Der Steppenwolf: Erzählung. 1927. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Verlag, 1974.
    • Steppenwolf. ['Der Steppenwolf', 1927. Trans. Basil Creighton. 1929. Rev. Walter Sorell. 1963. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.
  10. Narziss and Goldmund. ['Narziß und Goldmund', 1930. Trans. Geoffrey Dunlop. 1959. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973.
  11. The Journey to the East. ['Die Morgenlandfahrt', 1932. Trans. Hilda Rosner. 1956. Introduction by Timothy Leary. 1966. Frogmore, St Albans: Panther Books, 1973.
  12. The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi). ['Das Glasperlenspiel (Magister Ludi)', 1943. Trans. Richard & Clara Winston. 1969. London: Jonathan Cape, 1971.
    • The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi). ['Das Glasperlenspiel (Magister Ludi)', 1943. Trans. Richard & Clara Winston. 1960. Penguin Modern Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.

  13. Novellas and Short Stories:

  14. Eine Stunde hinter Mitternacht (1899)
  15. Freunde (1908)
  16. In the Old Sun (1914)
  17. Schön ist die Jugend (1916)
  18. Strange News from Another Star and Other Stories. ['Märchen', 1919. Trans. Denver Lindley. 1972. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.
  19. Klein und Wagner (1919)
  20. Stories of Five Decades. Ed. Theodore Ziolkowski. Trans. Ralph Manheim & Denver Lindley. 1954 & 72. St Albans, Herts: Triad Panther, 1976.
  21. Pictor’s Metamorphoses and Other Fantasies. Ed. Theodore Ziolkowski. Trans. Rita Lesser. 1982. Triad Panther. London: Granada, 1984.
  22. The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse. Trans. Jack Zipes. Woodcut Illustrations by David Frampton. A Bantam Book. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1995.

  23. Non-Fiction:

  24. Besuch aus Indien (1913)
  25. Blick ins Chaos (1920)
  26. Wandering: Notes and Sketches. 1920. Trans. James Wright. 1972. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973.
  27. If the War Goes On … Reflections on War and Politics. 1946. Trans. Ralph Manheim. 1971. London: Picador, 1974.
  28. Reflections. Ed. Volker Michels. 1971. Trans. Ralph Manheim. 1974. Frogmore, St Albans: Triad Panther, 1979.
  29. Autobiographical Writings. Ed. Theodore Ziolkowski. Trans. Denver Lindley. 1971-72. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973.
  30. My Belief: Essays on Life and Art. 1973. Ed. Theodore Ziolkowski. Trans. Denver Lindley & Ralph Manheim. 1974. Frogmore, St Albans: Triad Panther, 1978.

  31. Poetry:

  32. Hermann Lauscher [poetry and prose] (1900)
  33. Poems: 1899-1921. 1953. Trans. James Wright. 1970. Cape Poetry Paperbacks. London: Jonathan Cape, 1978.
  34. Crisis: Pages from a Diary (1975)
  35. Hours in the Garden and Other Poems. Trans. Rika Lesser. 1979. Cape Poetry Paperbacks. London: Jonathan Cape, 1980.

  36. Letters:

  37. Carlsson, Anni & Volker Michels, ed. The Hesse-Mann Letters: The Correspondence of Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann, 1910-1955. 1968. Trans. Ralph Manheim. Foreword by Theodore Ziolkowski. 1975. London: Peter Owen, 1976.

  38. Secondary:

  39. Freeman, Ralph. Hermann Hesse: Pilgrim of Crisis. A Biography. 1978. An Abacus Book. London: Sphere Books, 1981.
  40. Michels, Volker, ed. Hermann Hesse: A Pictorial Biography. 1973. Trans. Theodore & Yetta Ziolkowski and Denver Lindley. 1975. Frogmore, St Albans: Triad Panther, 1979.



Jack Zipes, trans: The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse (1995)





... not “Working from Home,” but “At home, during a crisis, trying to work” ...

- Tere McGonagle-Daly
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Students and Global Engagement
Chair of Massey University's Crisis Management Team (CMT)



Thursday, September 30, 2021

Franz Kafka: Parables and Paradoxes



Franz Kafka: Metamorphosis (1915)


When I was but thirteen or so
I went into a golden land,
Chimborazo, Cotopaxi
Took me by the hand.

- W. J. Turner, "Romance" (1920)
It wasn't quite like that for me. I'd have to rewrite it as follows:
When I was but fourteen or so
I went into a troubled land,
Josef K., Gregor Samsa
Took me by the hand.
That "Romance" poem has always struck me as a bit off, in any case. That idea of the genocidal conquest of the Americas by the Spanish conquistadors acting as a cheap source of thrills for European romantics seems crass, to say the least. Though of course that may be the point that Turner is trying to make:
My father died, my brother too,
They passed like fleeting dreams,
I stood where Popocatapetl
In the sunlight gleams.
Clearly this "great golden dream" is not being endorsed as altogether a good thing.



Franz Kafka: The Castle (1927)


Most people start with The Trial, but in my case it was The Castle which first pulled me into Franz Kafka's sinister and baffling world. I had a mania for being "well-read" in those days, just after advancing to High School. I'd heard the phrase somewhere and was not yet canny enough to know what a fata morgana such an ambition could be. In any case, I read on the back of the Penguin edition pictured above that it was widely considered one of the most important modern novels, so that was enough for me.

Some things in it were immediately recognisable. The idea of being constantly, insidiously thwarted in everything you set out to do: that was familiar enough as a simple description of my everyday life as the last in line of four children - not to mention the youngest in my class at school. Other details of the book's background would not start to resonate with me until I finally visited Prague, many years later. I hadn't realised the extent to which the Castle there literally dominates the whole city.



Boris Stroujko: Prague Castle (1927)


It looks picturesque enough in the tourist photo above, but on a midwinter morning it can seem as grim and threatening as any Transylvanian peak. And of course 'the Castle' has always been shorthand there for the government, just as 'the Beehive' is for us. For a young Jewish man belonging to one of the subject races of the profoundly anti-semitic Austro-Hungarian Empire, seeing it glowering down on you can hardly have been a happy experience.

But there remains something mysterious and unknowable about Kafka's genius. Many writers before and since have expressed themselves in this fable-like, hyper-real manner, but there's a unique gravity and inevitability to the situations he creates. Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino, Primo Levi - all have been influenced by Kafka, but none have surpassed him. Stories such as "Metamorphosis," "In the Penal Settlement," or (my favourite) "The Burrow" continue to speak to us more than a century after he wrote them.



Max Brod (1884-1968)


Though the situation isn't really as simple as that. The facts of his life have become, in their own way, as emblematic as his fiction. The story, after all, is a famous one. He died from tuberculosis at the age of 40, and left all his writings, both published and unpublished, to his friend and fellow-writer Max Brod, with the following request:
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.
It depends on your own point of view on these matters whether it makes him a hero or a villain, but Brod ignored these instructions, and printed not only the three incomplete novels Kafka had been working on for so long, but also a mass of unpublished stories, letters, and other material.



Edwin Muir: An Autobiography (1954)


Posterity could be said to have vindicated Max Brod. Kafka's work has never been out of print from that day to this, and he would make any list of the top ten twentieth-century German writers with ease. Possibly his greatest influence has been exerted abroad, in translation, however.

Kafka had the good fortune to fall into the hands of one of Scotland's finest modern poets, Orkneyman Edwin Muir, and his wife Willa Muir (née Anderson), who gradually translated the three novels - The Castle (1930), The Trial (1937), and America (1938) - as well as most of the canonical stories - The Great Wall of China and Other Pieces (1933), and The Metamorphosis (1935) - into clear and elegant English prose.



There's no doubt that Willa was the superior linguist and the senior partner in the enterprise. Here's her own description of how it went, from her memoir Belonging (1968):
We divided the book in two, Edwin translated one half and I the other, then we went over each other's translations as with a fine-tooth comb.
Elsewhere in her journals, she clarified that he "only helped."

One can't help feeling that something in the lives and backgrounds of these two Scots in exile contributed to their instinctive understanding of Kafka. Though born in Montrose, on the mainland, Willa Anderson's parents were both born in the Shetlands, and she grew up speaking Shetland dialect as well as English.



Edwin, too, born in the Orkney islands, grew up speaking the Orcadian variant of Scots before being forced to move to Glasgow when he was fourteen. All of his work was dominated by this contrast between the 'Eden' of his earliest experiences, and the grimness and despair of life in an industrial slum.

Kafka, too, though Czech by birth, wrote only in literary German. His position as an outsider to the language in which he was forced to express himself can find parallels not only in the experience of the Muirs and other Scots writers, but also in that of Irish writers such as James Joyce and John Synge.



Franz Kafka: The Trial (1925)


It's become rather fashionable to denounce the work of these two pioneers, working (as they did) from inadequate texts, with insufficient information, in favour of the more scholarly efforts of later translators. Here's the first sentence of The Trial in the Muirs' 1937 translation:
Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.


Franz Kafka: The Trial: Definitive Edition (1956)


What was my surprise, on purchasing the (so-called) 1956 "definitive" edition of the novel, "revised, with additional chapter and notes, by Professor E. M. Butler," to find that this sentence had been recast as follows:
Someone must have traduced Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.
"Traduced"! Of all the clumsy, latinate words one could possibly have selected! The simple expressiveness of that "telling lies about" is ruined, along with the entire rhythm of the sentence, out of pure pedantry. So much for Professor Butler as a prose stylist ...

But wait a second, you may interject at this point, what did Kafka actually say? The original opening sentence reads as follows:
Jemand Mußte Josef K. verleumdet haben, denn ohne daß er etwas Böses getan hätte, wurde er eines Morgens verhaftet.
A literal translation of this would read more or less as follow:
Somebody must Josef K. have slandered, because without that he anything wicked had done, was he one morning arrested.
Or, in more normal English:
Somebody must have slandered Josef K., because he was arrested one morning without having done anything bad.
Even "slandered" is better than that word "traduced" - but what's wrong with "telling lies about"? It's far more expressive, and brings the whole sentence to life.



The whole subject is discussed at length by Breon Mitchell, whose translation of The Trial was published in 1998. He's worried that both the Muirs and Butler fail to allow for the uncertain nature of that statement of Josef K.'s innocence. Their smoothing out of "getan hätte," a subjunctive tense, in his view renders too absolute the claim that he'd done no wrong. Mitchell's own version reads as follows:
Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.
"Truly wrong"! Not only is this a clumsy expression, but it also swings the pendulum too far in the opposite direction. Now we're being set up to regard Josef K. with a certain suspicion - thus obscuring the generally accepted point of Kafka's book.



Willa Muir: Imagined Corners (1931)


The Muirs were fascinating people, and they were already accomplished writers before turning to translation as a means of making extra income. Both wrote fiction, and memoirs, and they had a clear sense of just how a novel should work. You can't retain all the possible niggles of meaning in your own head, let alone in a phrase from a foreign language, when you're setting the tone for an entire narrative with your opening sentence.

Perhaps Breon Mitchell is right. I'm sure he knows far more about the German subjunctive - and the complex state of Kafka's texts - than I ever will. But he clearly doesn't know much about writing good English prose. His own sentence is clumsy, ill-balanced, and contains too many subordinate clauses. It's more use as a crib than as a translation.

It's interesting, too, how little this quibble over tenses seems to have influenced the other five or six translators who've made their own complete versions of The Trial. Were they all wrong? Or is it just a way of justifying monkeying around further with one of the most famous opening sentences in modern literature?

I'm sure that there are many things that require revision in these early translations, especially given the extra materials which have since been unearthed, and the inexorable succession of newly edited critical editions so beloved of German scholars (each new one requiring a new English translation, naturally).



Edwin Muir: Selected Poems (1965)


But don't criticise Edwin and Willa Muir for a lack of style. They'll run rings around you unless you, too, are in the habit of publishing original literary works on a regular basis. There are things you learn when constructing your own poems and stories which come as a great help when you're trying to make a translated author sound natural and idiomatic in a new linguistic matrix.

At least there's a certain fixity to these three novels, however. There are, unequivocally, three of them. Nor have the 'extra chapters' and 'abandoned drafts' which have been soldered more or less awkwardly into Brod's original versions from time to time altered the main lines of each of the narratives.



Franz Kafka: The Man Who Disappeared (1998)


There have, admittedly, been a few irritating attempts to alter the title of America (or Amerika, if you prefer) to some variation on its alternative name Der Verschollene [The Man Who Disappeared]. This culminated in Michael Hofmann's 1996 translation entitled The Man Who Disappeared (Amerika). Honestly, who cares?

The real issue for completists such as myself is the short stories. Or the sketches and short stories. Or the short stories, sketches, and parables. How many are there? How are they to be defined? Which editions have which of them? Are any of the various collections of them to date actually "complete"? What is a story - in Kafkaesque terms - anyway?

The whole thing started inoccuously enough. In his lifetime Kafka published three small collections of stories - or sketches - or parables. They are as follows (you can find complete, bilingual lists of their contents in the bibliography below):


    Franz Kafka: Betrachtung (1912 [1913])


  1. Betrachtung [Contemplation]. Leipzig: Rowohlt Verlag, 1912 [or, rather, printed at the end of 1912, but with a title page listing it as "1913," hence the use of both dates in different bibliographies]. A collection of 18 stories.


  2. Franz Kafka: Ein Landarzt (1919)


  3. Ein Landarzt [A Country Doctor]. Leipzig: Kurt Wolff, 1919. A collection of 14 stories.


  4. Franz Kafka: Ein Hungerkünstler (1924)


  5. Ein Hungerkünstler [A Hunger Artist]. Leipzig: Verlag Die Schmiede 1924. A collection of four stories, prepared for publication by Kafka, but published a few months after his death.
He also published the following stories, some of his most famous among them, in periodicals here and there:
  1. Das Urteil [The Judgment] (1913)
  2. Die Verwandlung [The Metamorphosis] (1915)
  3. Der Heizer [The Stoker] (1913) [Included in Amerika (1927)]
  4. In der Strafkolonie [In the Penal Colony] (1919)

You can find all of these "authorised" stories collected conveniently in the following volume:



Stories 1904-1924. Trans. J. A. Underwood. Foreword by Jorge Luis Borges. 1981. A Futura Book. London: Macdonald & Co, 1983.

After that, however, things get a bit more complicated. Max Brod found a great many stories among Kafka's papers, some of which he published in the volume Beim Bau der chinesischen Mauer [The Great Wall of China] in 1931. The Muirs translated it in 1933.



Successive attempts to publish the remainder of the stories resulted in a number of overlapping collections in English over the next couple of decades. Here's a selection of the major ones - three in the Secker & Warburg "definitive edition", and three similar but not identical collections in the Penguin Classics:


    Franz Kafka: In the Penal Settlement (1949)


  1. In the Penal Settlement: Tales and Short Prose Works. Definitive Edition. 1935. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. London: Secker & Warburg, 1949.


  2. Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Posthumous Prose Writings: Definitive Edition. 1953. Trans. Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins. London: Secker & Warburg, 1954.


  3. Description of a Struggle and The Great Wall of China: Definitive Edition. 1933. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir and Tania & James Stern. 1958. London: Secker & Warburg, 1960.


  4. Franz Kafka: Metamorphosis and Other Stories (1974)


  5. Metamorphosis and Other Stories. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. 1933 & 1958. Penguin Modern Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.


  6. Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Stories. Trans. Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins. 1953. Penguin Modern Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.


  7. Description of a Struggle and Other Stories. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir, Malcolm Pasley, Tania & James Stern. 1973. Penguin Modern Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.

Between them, these two sets of three volumes contain virtually everything publishable from Kafka's Nachlaß, or literary remains.

The situation in the USA is quite different, however. There the diffusion of Kafka's short stories is dominated by two books, both compiled and edited by Nahum Glatzer. They are:


    Franz Kafka: Parables and Paradoxes (1961)


  1. Parables and Paradoxes (Parabeln und Paradoxe). Ed. Nahum N. Glatzer. Trans. Clement Greenberg; Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins; Willa & Edwin Muir; Tania and James Stern. New York: Schocken Books, 1961.


  2. Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories (1971)


  3. The Complete Stories. Ed. Nahum N. Glatzer. New York: Schocken Books, 1971.

Between them, these two books contain virtually everything in Kafka's literary remains which could possibly be regarded as a 'story', including pieces taken from novel drafts, diaries, and other miscellaneous sources.

In the following list (cribbed mainly from the Wikipedia page devoted to Franz Kafka's Bibliography) you can see the inclusiveness of Glatzer's two collections:
    [bold = included in Complete Stories (1971) /
    underlined = included in Parables and Paradoxes (1961)]

  1. Betrachtung [Contemplation] (1912)
    1. Kinder auf der Landstraße [Children on a Country Road]
    2. Die Bäume [The Trees]
    3. Kleider [Clothes]
    4. Der Ausflug ins Gebirge [Excursion into the Mountains]
    5. Die Abweisung [Rejection]
    6. Das Gassenfenster [The Street Window]
    7. Der Kaufmann [The Tradesman]
    8. Zerstreutes Hinausschaun [Absent-minded Window-gazing]
    9. Der Nachhauseweg [The Way Home]
    10. Die Vorüberlaufenden [Passers-by]
    11. Der Fahrgast [On the Tram]
    12. Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter [Reflections for Gentlemen-Jockeys]
    13. Wunsch, Indianer zu werden [The Wish to be a Red Indian]
    14. Unglücklichsein [Unhappiness]
    15. Das Unglück des Junggesellen [Bachelor's Ill Luck]
    16. Entlarvung eines Bauernfängers [Unmasking a Confidence Trickster]
    17. Der plötzliche Spaziergang [The Sudden Walk]
    18. Entschlüsse [Resolutions]

  2. Ein Landarzt [A Country Doctor] (1919)
    1. Der neue Advokat [The New Advocate]
    2. Ein Landarzt [A Country Doctor]
    3. Auf der Galerie [Up in the Gallery]
    4. Ein altes Blatt [An Old Manuscript]
    5. Vor dem Gesetz [Before the Law]
    6. Schakale und Araber [Jackals and Arabs]
    7. Ein Besuch im Bergwerk [A Visit to a Mine]
    8. Das nächste Dorf [The Next Village]
    9. Eine kaiserliche Botschaft [A Message from the Emperor]
    10. Die Sorge des Hausvaters [The Cares of a Family Man]
    11. Elf Söhne [Eleven Sons]
    12. Der Mord / Ein Brudermord [A Fratricide]
    13. Ein Traum [A Dream]
    14. Ein Bericht für eine Akademie [A Report to an Academy]

  3. Miscellaneous:
    1. Der Unredliche in seinem Herzen [Shamefaced Lanky and Impure in Heart] (1902) [Included in Letters to Friends, Family & Editors (1959)]
    2. Beschreibung eines Kampfes [Description of a Struggle] (1909)
      1. Gespräch mit dem Beter [Conversation with the Supplicant]
      2. Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen [Conversation with the Drunk]
    3. Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande [Wedding Preparations in the Country] (1907-1908)
    4. Das Urteil [The Judgment] (1913)
    5. Die Verwandlung [The Metamorphosis] (1915)
    6. Der Heizer [The Stoker] (1913) [In Amerika (1927)]
    7. In der Strafkolonie [In the Penal Colony] (1919)
    8. Der Dorfschullehrer / Der Riesenmaulwurf [The Village Schoolmaster / The Giant Mole] (1915)
    9. Blumfeld, ein älterer Junggeselle [Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor] (1913)
    10. Der Gruftwächter [The Warden of the Tomb] (1916-17)
    11. Der Jäger Gracchus [The Hunter Gracchus] (1917)
    12. Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer [The Great Wall of China] (1917)
    13. Die Abweisung [The Refusal] (1920)
    14. Ein Hungerkünstler [A Hunger Artist] (1922)
    15. Forschungen eines Hundes [Investigations of a Dog] (1922)
    16. Eine kleine Frau [A Little Woman] (1924)
    17. Der Bau [The Burrow] (1931)
    18. Josefine, die Sängerin oder Das Volk der Mäuse [Josephine the Singer, or The Mouse Folk] (1924)
    19. Die Brücke [The Bridge]
    20. Der Kübelreiter [The Bucket Rider] (1917)
    21. Der Schlag ans Hoftor [The Knock at the Manor Gate]
    22. Der Nachbar [My Neighbour] (1917)
    23. Eine Kreuzung [A Crossbreed]
    24. Eine alltägliche Verwirrung [A Common Confusion]
    25. Die Wahrheit über Sancho Pansa [The Truth about Sancho Panza]
    26. Das Schweigen der Sirenen [The Silence of the Sirens]
    27. Prometheus [Prometheus] (1917-23)
    28. Das Stadtwappen [The City Coat of Arms]
    29. Poseidon [Poseidon] (1920)
    30. Gemeinschaft [Fellowship]
    31. Nachts [At Night]
    32. Zur Frage der Gesetze [The Problem of Our Laws]
    33. Die Truppenaushebung [The Conscription of Troops]
    34. Die Prüfung [The Test]
    35. Der Geier [The Vulture]
    36. Der Steuermann [The Helmsman]
    37. Der Kreisel [The Top]
    38. Kleine Fabel [A Little Fable]
    39. Heimkehr [Home-Coming]
    40. Erstes Leid [First Sorrow] (1921-22)
    41. Der Aufbruch [The Departure] (1920-21)
    42. Fürsprecher [Advocates] (1922)
    43. Das Ehepaar [The Married Couple] (1922)
    44. Gibs auf! [Give It Up!]
    45. Von den Gleichnissen [On Parables]
    46. Der Kaiser von Peking [Peking and the Emperor]
    47. Die Chinesische Mauer und der Turmbau von Babel [The Great Wall and the Tower of Babel]
    48. Das Paradies [Paradise]
    49. Der Turm zu Babel [The Tower of Babel]
    50. Der Schacht von Babel [The Pit of Babel]
    51. Abraham [Abraham]
    52. Der Berg Sinai [Mount Sinai]
    53. Der Tempelbau [The Building of the Temple]
    54. Das Tier in der Synagoge [The Animal in the Synagogue]
    55. Der Wächter [The Watchman]
    56. Das Kommen des Messias [The Coming of the Messiah]
    57. Die Sirenen [The Sirens]
    58. Leoparden in Tempel [Leopards in the Temple]
    59. Alexander der Grosse [Alexander the Great]
    60. Diogenes [Diogenes]
    61. Der Bau einer Stadt [The Building of a City]
    62. Der Kaiserliche Oberst [The Imperial Colonel]
    63. Der Kaiser [The Emperor]
    64. In der Karawanserei [In the Caravansary]
    65. Die Zelle [The Cell]
    66. Die Erfindung des Teufels [The Invention of the Devil]
    67. Die Wilden [The Savages]
    68. Der Grüne Drache [The Green Dragon]
    69. Der Tiger [The Tiger]
    70. Kuriere [Couriers]
    71. Ein Geduldspiel [A Chinese Puzzle]
    72. Robinson Crusoe [Robinson Crusoe]
    73. Die Quelle [The Spring]
    74. Die Unersättlichsten [The Hunger Strike]
    75. Das Ziel [My Destination]



  4. Franz Kafka: The Lost Writings, trans. Michael Hofmann (2020)


    No doubt volumes such as the above - with its tantalising promise of "seventy-four pieces ... lost to sight for decades ... two of them [never] translated into English before," will continue to appear.

    However, if you just want to read Kafka but have been unsure where to start - and you should: Kafka's shorter work is a revelation! - I'd advise either trying to obtain the two Nahum Glatzer edited collections mentioned above, or else the three readily available Penguin Classics compilations.

    Unless you're lucky enough to be able to read German, that is, in which case you could probably content yourself with this:



    Franz Kafka: Sämtliche Erzählungen (1970)






    Franz Kafka (1923)

    Franz Kafka
    (1883-1924)


      Novels:

    1. The Trial. ['Der Prozess', 1925]. Trans. Willa and Edwin Muir (1937). In The Trial / America / The Castle / Metamorphosis / In the Penal Settlement / The Great Wall of China / Investigations of a Dog / Letter to His Father / The Diaries 1910-1923. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir et al. London: Secker & Warburg / Octopus, 1976.
      • The Trial: Definitive Edition. 1925. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. 1937. Rev. E. M. Butler. 1956. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963.
      • The Trial. 1925. Trans. Douglas Scott & Chris Waller. Introduction by J. P. Stern. 1977. London: Picador, 1980.

    2. The Castle. ['Das Schloss', 1926]. Trans. Willa and Edwin Muir (1930). In The Trial / America / The Castle / Metamorphosis / In the Penal Settlement / The Great Wall of China / Investigations of a Dog / Letter to His Father / The Diaries 1910-1923. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir et al. London: Secker & Warburg / Octopus, 1976.
      • The Castle: Definitive Edition. 1926. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. 1930. Rev. Eithne Wilkins & Ernst Kaiser. 1953. London: Secker & Warburg, 1961.

    3. America. ['Amerika oder Der Verschollene', 1927]. Trans. Willa and Edwin Muir (1938). In The Trial / America / The Castle / Metamorphosis / In the Penal Settlement / The Great Wall of China / Investigations of a Dog / Letter to His Father / The Diaries 1910-1923. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir et al. London: Secker & Warburg / Octopus, 1976.
      • Amerika: Roman. 1935. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1985.
      • America: Definitive Edition. 1927. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. 1938. Rev. ed. London: Secker & Warburg, 1949.
      • The Man Who Disappeared (Amerika). 1927. Trans. Michael Hofmann. Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1996.

    4. Collections:

    5. Sämtliche Erzählungen. Ed. Paul Raabe. 1970. Hamburg: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1983.
        I. Die vom Autor veröffentlichten Bücher
      1. Betrachtung (1913)
        1. Kinder auf der Landstraße
        2. Entlarvung eines Bauernfängers
        3. Der plötzliche Spaziergang
        4. Entschlüsse
        5. Der Ausflug ins Gebirge
        6. Das Unglück des Junggesellen
        7. Der Kaufmann
        8. Zerstreutes Hinausschaun
        9. Der Nachhauseweg
        10. Die Vorüberlaufenden
        11. Der Fahrgast
        12. Kleider
        13. Die Abweisung
        14. Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter
        15. Das Gassenfenster
        16. Wunsch, Indianer zu werden
        17. Die Bäume
        18. Unglücklichsein
      2. Das Urteil (1913)
      3. Der Heizer (1913)
      4. Die Verwandlung (1915)
      5. In der Strafkolonie (1919)
      6. Ein Landarzt (1919)
        1. Der neue Advokat
        2. Ein Landarzt
        3. Auf der Galerie
        4. Ein altes Blatt
        5. Vor dem Gesetz
        6. Schakale und Araber
        7. Ein Besuch im Bergwerk
        8. Das nächste Dorf
        9. Eine kaiserliche Botschaft
        10. Die Sorge des Hausvaters
        11. Elf Söhne
        12. Ein Brudermord
        13. Ein Traum
        14. Ein Bericht für eine Akademie
      7. Ein Hungerkünstler (1924)
        1. Erstes Leid
        2. Eine kleine Frau
        3. Ein Hungerkünstler
        4. Josefine, die Sängerin oder Das Volk der Mäuse
      8. II. Zerstreut veröffentlichte, nicht von Kafka in Bücher aufgenommene Erzählungen
      9. Gespräch mit dem Beter
      10. Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen
      11. Großer Lärm
      12. Der Kübelreiter
      13. III. Die Erzählungen aus dem Nachlaß
      14. Beschreibung eines Kampfes
      15. Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande
      16. Der Dorfschullehrer
      17. Blumfeld, ein älterer Junggeselle
      18. Die Brücke
      19. Der Jäger Gracchus
      20. Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
      21. Der Schlag ans Hoftor
      22. Der Nachbar
      23. Eine Kreuzung
      24. Eine alltägliche Verwirrung
      25. Die Wahrheit über Sancho Pansa
      26. Das Schweigen der Sirenen
      27. Prometheus
      28. Das Stadtwappen
      29. Poseidon
      30. Gemeinschaft
      31. Nachts
      32. Die Abweisung
      33. Zur Frage der Gesetze
      34. Die Truppenaushebung
      35. Die Prüfung
      36. Der Geier
      37. Der Steuermann
      38. Der Kreisel
      39. Kleine Fabel
      40. Heimkehr
      41. Der Aufbruch
      42. Fürsprecher
      43. Forschungen eines Hundes
      44. Das Ehepaar
      45. Gibs auf!
      46. Von den Gleichnissen
      47. Der Bau

    6. The Great Wall of China and Other Pieces. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. 1933. Rev. ed. London: Secker & Warburg, 1946.
        Longer Stories:
      1. Investigations of a Dog [Forschungen eines Hundes]
      2. The Burrow [Der Bau]
      3. The Great Wall of China [Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer]
      4. The Giant Mole [Der Riesenmaulwurf]
      5. Shorter Stories and Fables:
      6. The Hunter Gracchus [Der Jäger Gracchus]
      7. The Married Couple [Das Ehepaar]
      8. My Neighbour [Der Nachbar]
      9. A Common Confusion [Eine alltägliche Verwirrung]
      10. The Bridge [Die Brücke]
      11. The Bucket Rider [Der Kübelreiter]
      12. A Crossbreed [Eine Kreuzung]
      13. The Knock at the Manor Gate [Der Schlag ans Hoftor]
      14. The City Coat of Arms [Das Stadtwappen]
      15. The Silence of the Sirens [Das Schweigen der Sirenen]
      16. Prometheus [Prometheus]
      17. The Truth about Sancho Panza [Die Wahrheit über Sancho Pansa]
      18. The Problem of Our Laws [Zur Frage der Gesetze]
      19. On Parables [Von den Gleichnissen]
      20. A Little Fable [Kleine Fabel]
      21. Aphorisms:
      22. "He"
      23. Reflections on Sin, Pain, Hope and the True Way [Betrachtungen über Sünde, Hoffnung, Leid und den wahren Weg]

    7. The Metamorphosis / Die Verwandlung. 1935. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. 1968. New York: Schocken Books, 1974.

    8. In the Penal Settlement: Tales and Short Prose Works. Definitive Edition. 1935. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. London: Secker & Warburg, 1949.
      1. Two Dialogues (From a work later destroyed: 'Description of a Struggle' [Beschreibung eines Kampfes])
        1. Conversation with the Suppliant [Gespräch mit dem Beter]
        2. Conversation with the Drunken Man [Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen]
      2. Meditation [Betrachtung]
        1. Children on a Country Road [Kinder auf der Landstraße]
        2. Unmasking a Confidence Trickster [Entlarvung eines Bauernfängers]
        3. The Sudden Walk [Der plötzliche Spaziergang]
        4. Resolutions [Entschlüsse]
        5. Excursion into the Mountains [Der Ausflug ins Gebirge]
        6. Bachelor's Ill Luck [Das Unglück des Junggesellen]
        7. The Tradesman [Der Kaufmann]
        8. Absent-minded Window-gazing [Zerstreutes Hinausschaun]
        9. The Way Home [Der Nachhauseweg]
        10. Passers-by [Die Vorüberlaufenden]
        11. On the Tram [Der Fahrgast]
        12. Clothes [Kleider]
        13. Rejection [Die Abweisung]
        14. Reflections for Gentlemen Jockeys [Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter]
        15. The Street Window [Das Gassenfenster]
        16. The Wish to be a Red Indian [Wunsch, Indianer zu werden]
        17. The Trees [Die Bäume]
        18. Unhappiness [Unglücklichsein]
      3. The Judgement [Das Urteil]
      4. The Transformation [Die Verwandlung]
      5. A Country Doctor [Ein Landarzt]
        1. The New Advocate [Der neue Advokat]
        2. A Country Doctor [Ein Landarzt]
        3. Up in the Gallery [Auf der Galerie]
        4. An Old Manuscript [Ein altes Blatt]
        5. Before the Law [Vor dem Gesetz]
        6. Jackals and Arabs [Schakale und Araber]
        7. A Visit to a Mine [Ein Besuch im Bergwerk]
        8. The Next Village [Das nächste Dorf]
        9. A Message from the Emperor [Eine kaiserliche Botschaft]
        10. Troubles of a Householder [Die Sorge des Hausvaters]
        11. Eleven Sons [Elf Söhne]
        12. A Brother's Murder [Ein Brudermord]
        13. A Dream [Ein Traum]
        14. A Report to an Academy [Ein Bericht für eine Akademie]
      6. In the Penal Settlement [In der Strafkolonie]
      7. A Hunger Artist [Ein Hungerkünstler]
        1. First Sorrow [Erstes Leid]
        2. A Little Woman [Eine kleine Frau]
        3. A Fasting Showman [Ein Hungerkünstler]
        4. Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse-folk [Josefine, die Sängerin oder Das Volk der Mäuse]
      8. Appendix:
      9. First Chapter of the Book Richard and Samuel, by Max Brod and Franz Kafka
        1. Foreword [Vorwort]
        2. The First Long Train Journey [Die erste lange Eisenbahnfahrt]
      10. Epilogue (Publisher's Note)

    9. Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Posthumous Prose Writings: Definitive Edition. 1953. Trans. Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins. London: Secker & Warburg, 1954.
      1. Wedding Preparations in the Country [Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande]
      2. Reflections on Sin, Pain, Hope and the True Way [Betrachtungen über Sünde, Hoffnung, Leid und den wahren Weg]
      3. The Eight Octavo Notebooks [Oxforder Oktavhefte]
      4. Letter to His Father [Brief an den Vater]
      5. Fragments from Note-books and Loose Pages
      6. Paralipomena

    10. Description of a Struggle and The Great Wall of China: Definitive Edition. 1933. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir and Tania & James Stern. 1958. London: Secker & Warburg, 1960.
      1. Introduction by Edwin Muir to The Great Wall of China
      2. Description of a Struggle [Beschreibung eines Kampfes]
      3. The Great Wall of China [Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer]
      4. The Refusal [Die Abweisung]
      5. The Problem of Our Laws [Zur Frage der Gesetze]
      6. The City Coat of Arms [Das Stadtwappen]
      7. On Parables [Von den Gleichnissen]
      8. Poseidon [Poseidon]
      9. The Hunter Gracchus [Der Jäger Gracchus]
      10. The Knock at the Manor Gate [Der Schlag ans Hoftor]
      11. A Crossbreed [Eine Kreuzung]
      12. The Bridge [Die Brücke]
      13. The Vulture [Der Geier]
      14. The Departure [Der Aufbruch]
      15. Give it Up! [Gibs auf!]
      16. At Night [Nachts]
      17. The Helmsman [Der Steuermann]
      18. The Top [Der Kreisel]
      19. A Little Fable [Kleine Fabel]
      20. The Bucket Rider [Der Kübelreiter]
      21. The Married Couple [Das Ehepaar]
      22. My Neighbour [Der Nachbar]
      23. The Test [Die Prüfung]
      24. Advocates [Fürsprecher]
      25. Home-coming [Heimkehr]
      26. Fellowship [Gemeinschaft]
      27. Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor [Blumfeld, ein älterer Junggeselle]
      28. The Burrow [Der Bau]
      29. The Giant Mole [Der Riesenmaulwurf]
      30. Investigations of a Dog [Forschungen eines Hundes]
      31. "He"
      32. The Warden of the Tomb [Der Gruftwächter]
      33. Fragments of 'A Report to an Academy' [Ein Bericht für eine Akademie]
      34. Fragment of 'The Great Wall of China' [Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer]
      35. The Conscription of Troops [Die Truppenaushebung]
      36. Fragment of 'The Hunter Gracchus' [Der Jäger Gracchus]
      37. Postscript by Max Brod to the German Edition

    11. Metamorphosis and Other Stories. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. 1933 & 1958. Penguin Modern Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.
      1. Metamorphosis [Die Verwandlung]
      2. The Great Wall of China [Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer]
      3. Investigations of a Dog [Forschungen eines Hundes]
      4. The Burrow [Der Bau]
      5. In the Penal Settlement [In der Strafkolonie]
      6. The Giant Mole [Der Riesenmaulwurf]

    12. Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Stories. Trans. Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins. 1953. Penguin Modern Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.
      1. Wedding Preparations in the Country [Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande]
      2. Letter to His Father [Brief an den Vater]
      3. Two Dialogues (From a work later destroyed: 'Description of a Struggle' [Beschreibung eines Kampfes])
        1. Conversation with the Suppliant [Gespräch mit dem Beter]
        2. Conversation with the Drunken Man [Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen]
      4. Meditation [Betrachtung]
        1. Children on a Country Road [Kinder auf der Landstraße]
        2. Unmasking a Confidence Trickster [Entlarvung eines Bauernfängers]
        3. The Sudden Walk [Der plötzliche Spaziergang]
        4. Resolutions [Entschlüsse]
        5. Excursion into the Mountains [Der Ausflug ins Gebirge]
        6. Bachelor's Ill Luck [Das Unglück des Junggesellen]
        7. The Tradesman [Der Kaufmann]
        8. Absent-minded Window-gazing [Zerstreutes Hinausschaun]
        9. The Way Home [Der Nachhauseweg]
        10. Passers-by [Die Vorüberlaufenden]
        11. On the Tram [Der Fahrgast]
        12. Clothes [Kleider]
        13. Rejection [Die Abweisung]
        14. Reflections for Gentlemen Jockeys [Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter]
        15. The Street Window [Das Gassenfenster]
        16. The Wish to be a Red Indian [Wunsch, Indianer zu werden]
        17. The Trees [Die Bäume]
        18. Unhappiness [Unglücklichsein]
      5. The Judgement [Das Urteil]
      6. A Country Doctor [Ein Landarzt]
        1. The New Advocate [Der neue Advokat]
        2. A Country Doctor [Ein Landarzt]
        3. Up in the Gallery [Auf der Galerie]
        4. An Old Manuscript [Ein altes Blatt]
        5. Before the Law [Vor dem Gesetz]
        6. Jackals and Arabs [Schakale und Araber]
        7. A Visit to a Mine [Ein Besuch im Bergwerk]
        8. The Next Village [Das nächste Dorf]
        9. A Message from the Emperor [Eine kaiserliche Botschaft]
        10. Troubles of a Householder [Die Sorge des Hausvaters]
        11. Eleven Sons [Elf Söhne]
        12. A Brother's Murder [Ein Brudermord]
        13. A Dream [Ein Traum]
        14. A Report to an Academy [Ein Bericht für eine Akademie]
      7. A Hunger Artist [Ein Hungerkünstler]
        1. First Sorrow [Erstes Leid]
        2. A Little Woman [Eine kleine Frau]
        3. A Fasting Showman [Ein Hungerkünstler]
        4. Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse-folk [Josefine, die Sängerin oder Das Volk der Mäuse]

    13. Description of a Struggle and Other Stories. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir, Malcolm Pasley, Tania & James Stern. 1973. Penguin Modern Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.
      1. Description of a Struggle [Beschreibung eines Kampfes]
      2. Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor [Blumfeld, ein älterer Junggeselle]
      3. The Warden of the Tomb [Der Gruftwächter]
      4. The Bridge [Die Brücke]
      5. The Hunter Gracchus [Der Jäger Gracchus]
      6. Fragments of 'A Report to an Academy' [Ein Bericht für eine Akademie]
      7. The Bucket Rider [Der Kübelreiter]
      8. The Knock at the Manor Gate [Der Schlag ans Hoftor]
      9. My Neighbour [Der Nachbar]
      10. A Crossbreed [Eine Kreuzung]
      11. An Everyday Occurrence [Eine alltägliche Verwirrung]
      12. The Truth about Sancho Panza [Die Wahrheit über Sancho Pansa]
      13. The Silence of the Sirens [Das Schweigen der Sirenen]
      14. Prometheus [Prometheus]
      15. The City Coat of Arms [Das Stadtwappen]
      16. Poseidon [Poseidon]
      17. Fellowship [Gemeinschaft]
      18. At Night [Nachts]
      19. The Refusal [Die Abweisung]
      20. The Problem of Our Laws [Zur Frage der Gesetze]
      21. The Conscription of Troops [Die Truppenaushebung]
      22. The Test [Die Prüfung]
      23. The Vulture [Der Geier]
      24. The Helmsman [Der Steuermann]
      25. The Top [Der Kreisel]
      26. A Little Fable [Kleine Fabel]
      27. Homecoming [Heimkehr]
      28. The Departure [Der Aufbruch]
      29. Advocates [Fürsprecher]
      30. The Married Couple [Das Ehepaar]
      31. A Comment [Gibs auf!]
      32. On Parables [Von den Gleichnissen]

    14. Parables and Paradoxes (Parabeln und Paradoxe). Trans. Clement Greenberg; Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins; Willa & Edwin Muir; Tania and James Stern . Ed. Nahum N. Glatzer. New York: Schocken Books, 1961.
      1. On Parables
      2. I
      3. An Imperial Message
      4. Peking and the Emperor
      5. The News of the Building of the Wall: a Fragment
      6. The Great wall and the Tower of Babel
      7. II
      8. Paradise
      9. The Tower of Babel
      10. The Pit of Babel
      11. The City Coat of Arms
      12. Abraham
      13. Mount Sinai
      14. The Building of the Temple
      15. The Animal in the Synagogue
      16. Before the Law
      17. The Watchman
      18. The Coming of the Messiah
      19. III
      20. Prometheus
      21. Poseidon
      22. The Silence of the Sirens
      23. The Sirens
      24. Leopards in the Temple
      25. Alexander the Great
      26. Diogenes
      27. The New Attorney
      28. IV
      29. The Building of a City
      30. The Imperial Colonel
      31. The Emperor
      32. In the Caravansary
      33. The Cell
      34. The Invention of the Devil
      35. The Savages
      36. The Hunter Gracchus + Fragment
      37. The Vulture
      38. The Green Dragon
      39. The Tiger
      40. The Problem of Our Laws
      41. The Refusal
      42. Couriers
      43. A Chinese Puzzle
      44. The Truth about Sancho Panza
      45. The Test
      46. Robinson Crusoe
      47. The Spring
      48. The Hunger Strike
      49. My Destination

    15. The Complete Stories. Ed. Nahum N. Glatzer. 1971. New York: Schocken Books, 1976.
        Two Introductory Parables:
      1. Before the Law [from The Trial]
      2. An Imperial Message [from "The Great Wall of China"]
      3. The Longer Stories:
      4. Description of a Struggle
      5. Wedding Preparations in the Country
      6. The Judgment
      7. The Metamorphosis
      8. In the Penal Colony
      9. The Village Schoolmaster (The Giant Mole)
      10. Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor
      11. The Warden of the Tomb
      12. A Country Doctor
      13. The Hunter Gracchus + fragment
      14. The Great Wall of China + fragment
      15. A Report to an Academy + two fragments
      16. The Refusal
      17. A Hunger Artist
      18. Investigations of a Dog
      19. A Little Woman
      20. The Burrow
      21. Josephine the Singer, or The Mouse Folk
      22. The Shorter Stories:
      23. Children on a Country Road
      24. The Trees
      25. Clothes
      26. Excursion into the Mountains
      27. The Rejection
      28. The Street Window
      29. The Tradesman
      30. Absent-minded Window-gazing
      31. The Way Home
      32. Passers-by
      33. On the Tram
      34. Reflections for Gentlemen-Jockeys
      35. The Wish to be a Red Indian
      36. Unhappiness
      37. Bachelor's Ill Luck
      38. Unmasking a Confidence Trickster
      39. The Sudden Walk
      40. Resolutions
      41. A Dream
      42. Up in the Gallery
      43. A Fratricide
      44. The Next Village
      45. A Visit to a Mine
      46. Jackals and Arabs
      47. The Bridge
      48. The Bucket Rider
      49. The New Advocate
      50. An Old Manuscript
      51. The Knock at the Manor Gate
      52. Eleven Sons
      53. My Neighbor
      54. A Crossbreed
      55. The Cares of a Family Man
      56. A Common Confusion
      57. The Truth about Sancho Panza
      58. The Silence of the Sirens
      59. Prometheus
      60. The City Coat of Arms
      61. Poseidon
      62. Fellowship
      63. At Night
      64. The Problem of Our Laws
      65. The Conscription of Troops
      66. The Test
      67. The Vulture
      68. The Helmsman
      69. The Top
      70. A Little Fable
      71. Home-Coming
      72. First Sorrow
      73. The Departure
      74. Advocates
      75. The Married Couple
      76. Give it Up!
      77. On Parables
      78. Postscript, by Nahum N. Glatzer

    16. Stories 1904-1924. Trans. J. A. Underwood. Foreword by Jorge Luis Borges. 1981. A Futura Book. London: Macdonald & Co, 1983.
      1. Looking to See [Betrachtung]
        1. Children in the lane [Kinder auf der Landstraße]
        2. Unmasking a confidence trickster [Entlarvung eines Bauernfängers]
        3. The spur-of-the-moment stroll [Der plötzliche Spaziergang]
        4. Decisions [Entschlüsse]
        5. The excursion into the mountains [Der Ausflug ins Gebirge]
        6. The bachelor's lot [Das Unglück des Junggesellen]
        7. The businessman [Der Kaufmann]
        8. Wool-gathering at the window [Zerstreutes Hinausschaun]
        9. The way home [Der Nachhauseweg]
        10. Passers-by [Die Vorüberlaufenden]
        11. The passenger [Der Fahrgast]
        12. Dresses [Kleider]
        13. The rebuff [Die Abweisung]
        14. For jockeys to ponder [Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter]
        15. The window on the street [Das Gassenfenster]
        16. Wanting to be a Red Indian [Wunsch, Indianer zu werden]
        17. The trees [Die Bäume]
        18. Unhappiness [Unglücklichsein]
      2. The Judgement [Das Urteil]
      3. The Stoker [Der Heizer]
      4. The Metamorphosis [Die Verwandlung]
      5. In the Penal Colony [In der Strafkolonie]
      6. A Country Doctor [Ein Landarzt]
        1. The new attorney [Der neue Advokat]
        2. A country doctor [Ein Landarzt]
        3. In the gallery [Auf der Galerie]
        4. A leaf from the past [Ein altes Blatt]
        5. At the door of the law [Vor dem Gesetz]
        6. Jackals and Arabs [Schakale und Araber]
        7. A mine visit [Ein Besuch im Bergwerk]
        8. The next village [Das nächste Dorf]
        9. A message from the emperor [Eine kaiserliche Botschaft]
        10. The householder's concern [Die Sorge des Hausvaters]
        11. Eleven sons [Elf Söhne]
        12. A case of fratricide [Ein Brudermord]
        13. A dream [Ein Traum]
        14. A report for an academy [Ein Bericht für eine Akademie]
      7. A Fasting-Artist [Ein Hungerkünstler]
        1. First sorrow [Erstes Leid]
        2. A little woman [Eine kleine Frau]
        3. A fasting-artist [Ein Hungerkünstler]
        4. Josephine the singer, or The mouse people [Josefine, die Sängerin oder Das Volk der Mäuse]

    17. Abandoned Fragments: The Unedited Works of Franz Kafka, 1897-1917. ["Nachgelassene Schriften und Fragmente", Vol. 1 of 2, 1992]. Trans. Ida Pfitzner. USA: Sun Vision Press, 2012.

    18. Investigations of a Dog & Other Creatures. Trans. Michael Hofmann. New York: New Directions Press, 2017.

    19. The Lost Writings. ["Nachgelassene Schriften und Fragmente", 2 vols, 1992-93]. Ed. Reiner Stach. Trans. Michael Hoffman. A New Directions Paperbook. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2020.

    20. Essays:

    21. Die Aeroplane in Brescia [The Aeroplanes At Brescia] (1909)
    22. [with Max Brod] Die erste lange Eisenbahnfahrt [The First Long Train Journey] (1912)
    23. Eine entschlafene Zeitschrift [Review of Hyperion]
    24. Ein Roman der Jugend: Felix Sternheim, Die Geschichte des jungen Oswald [Review of A Novel about Youth]
    25. Über Kleist's Anekdoten [On Kleist's "Anecdotes"]

    26. Franz Kafka: The Office Writings. Ed. & Trans. Eric Patton & Ruth Hein. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

    27. Diaries:

    28. "Reflections on Sin, Pain, Hope and the True Way." ['Die Zürauer Aphorismen' oder 'Betrachtungen über Sünde, Hoffnung, Leid und den wahren Weg', 1931]. In The Great Wall of China and Other Pieces. Trans. Willa & Edwin Muir. 1933. Rev. ed. London: Secker & Warburg, 1946. 142-59.
      • The Zürau Aphorisms. Ed. Roberto Calasso. London: Harvill Secker, 2014.

    29. The Diaries of Franz Kafka: 1910-23. ['Tagebücher 1910–1923', ed. Max Brod, 1948]. Trans. Joseph Kresh and Martin Greenberg with Hannah Arendt. 2 vols. 1948 & 1949. Peregrine Books. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.

    30. "The Eight Octavo Notebooks." ['Oxforder Oktavhefte', 1953]. In Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Posthumous Prose Writings: Definitive Edition. 1953. Trans. Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins. London: Secker & Warburg, 1954. 54-156.

    31. Letters:

    32. Letters to Milena. ['Briefe an Milena', ed. Willy Haas, 1952]. Trans. Tania & James Stern. 1953. London: Corgi Books, 1967.

    33. Letter to His Father. ['Brief an den Vater', 1953]. Trans. Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins (1954). In Wedding Preparations in the Country and Other Posthumous Prose Writings: Definitive Edition. 1953. Trans. Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins. London: Secker & Warburg, 1954. 157-217.

    34. Letters to Friends, Family and Editors. ['Briefe 1902–1924', 1959]. Trans. Richard & Clara Winston. 1977. Richmond, Surrey: Alma Classics Ltd., 2014.

    35. Letters to Felice. ['Briefe an Felice und andere Korrespondenz aus der Verlobungszeit, ed. Erich Heller & Jürgen Born, 1967]. Trans. James Stern & Elizabeth Duckworth. 1973. With Elias Canetti: Kafka’s Other Trial. 1969. Trans. Christopher Middleton. 1974. Penguin Modern Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.

    36. Letters to Ottla and the Family. ['Briefe an Ottla und die Familie', 1974]. Trans. Robert Boettcher (1982)

    37. Secondary:

    38. Brod, Max. Franz Kafka: A Biography. 1937. Trans. G. Humphreys Roberts. 1947. Rev. Richard Winston. 1960. New York: Schocken Books, 1973.

    39. Janousch, Gustav. Conversations with Kafka. 1953. Rev. ed. 1968. Trans. Goronwy Rees. New York: New Directions, 1971.

    40. Hayman, Ronald. K: A Biography Of Kafka. 1981. An Abacus Book. London: Sphere Books, 1983.

    41. Pawel, Ernst. The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka. 1984. London: Collins Harvill, 1988.

    42. Calasso, Roberto. K. 2002. Trans. Geoffrey Brock. Jonathan Cape. London: Random House, 2005.