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The Trial: A New Translation Based on the Restored Text (The Schocken Kafka Library) Paperback – May 25, 1999
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The story of The Trial's publication is almost as fascinating as the novel itself. Kafka intended his parable of alienation in a mysterious bureaucracy to be burned, along with the rest of his diaries and manuscripts, after his death in 1924. Yet his friend Max Brod pressed forward to prepare The Trial and the rest of his papers for publication. When the Nazis came to power, publication of Jewish writers such as Kafka was forbidden; Kafka's writings, many of which have distinctively Jewish themes, did not find a broad audience until after World War II. (Hannah Arendt once observed that although "during his lifetime he could not make a decent living, [Kafka] will now keep generations of intellectuals both gainfully employed and well-fed.") Among the current crop of Kafka heirs is Breon Mitchell, the translator of this edition of The Trial. Rather than tidying up Kafka's unconventional grammar and punctuation (as previous translators have done), Mitchell captures the loose, uneasy, even uncomfortable constructions of Kafka's original story. His translation technique is the only way to convey the comedy and confusion of this narrative, in which Josef K., "without having done anything truly wrong," is arrested, tried, convicted and executed--on a charge that is never disclosed to him. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Library Journal
Kafka's final work was left unfinished at the time of his 1924 death, and the original 1925 and subsequent editions were edited according to the standards of the day. This edition endeavors to restore the text as closely as possible to the original manuscript. According to the publisher, "This translation makes slight changes in the chapter divisions and sequence of chapter fragments." In addition to the text, this volume includes a bibliography and a chronology of the author's life.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Indeed, "The Trial" is the epitome of this adjective used to describe the haunting novels of Franz Kafka.
Breon Mitchell's translation is fantastic as it expands and clarifies the first version by the Muirs. A lengthy translators preface is included, written by Mitchell, explaining the reasoning for this new translation based on the German definitive edition. Various examples of the text (in German) are also used in the explanations of the hows and whys.
On to the story itself. Josef K. awakens one more to find that he's been arrested. He doesn't know why and is never told. His daily life is allowed to go on over the course of the year the novel takes place, while trying to understand what is happening. Throughout this process Josef begins to sink further into paranoia and guilt, with the fate of his life in the balance....
This is a deep and dense novel, with various interpretations. It's scary to realize that this could actually happen (perhaps not on this scale) and that's one of things Kafka excels at. Taking the everyday mundane and catapulting it into the realm of the absurd and nightmarish..
The leftover fragments of "The Trial" are also included after the story, adding further insight into this tragic story. It's also worth it to pick up the Muir's translation, to see the differences, and to have the original english version to keep.
A must read.