An Old Manuscript
"An Old Manuscript" (German: "Ein altes Blatt"), alternatively translated as "An Old Leaf", is a short story by Franz Kafka. It was originally written in 1919 in German and published in the collection Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor).
The story begins when a shoemaker begins to open up his shop at daybreak. He notices that a large group of nomads from the north have filled the town square. The nomads show no signs of culture, and soon trash the city into "a veritable sty". They also show no respect for the town people and take everything they want from the stores without making any sort of payment. The Emperor appears at one of the palace windows and looks on as nomads take control of the city—but he's not able to do anything.
The protagonist (a shoemaker) concludes his observations by saying: "The salvation of our fatherland is left to us craftmen and tradespeople, but we are not equal to such a task, nor indeed have we ever claimed to be capable of it. This is a misunderstanding, and it is proving the ruin of us." This is a kafkaesque scenario, where the protagonist faces unimaginable challenges from society. A similar situation takes place in "A Country Doctor", where the protagonist, a doctor, faces the unyielding challenge of curing a patient who's about to die.
- Kafka (1996, 173).
- Kafka (1996, 173–177).
- After the tradition: essays on modern Jewish writing. R Alter. 1969.Dutton
- Kafka, Franz (1996). The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, trans. Donna Freed. New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 1-56619-969-7.
|German Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- "The Old Manuscript" - English translation. (dead link)