Franz Kafka bibliography

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First page of Kafka's letter to his father

Franz Kafka, a German-language writer of novels and short stories, regarded by critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, was trained as a lawyer and was employed by an insurance company, writing only in his spare time.

Fiction[edit]

Novels[edit]

English title Original German title Translations available Notes Cover first edition
The Trial Der Process (1925) Willa and Edwin Muir (1935);
Idris Parry (1994);
Breon Mitchell (1999);
David Wyllie (2003);
Richard Stokes (2005);
John Williams; (2008)
Mike Mitchell (2009)
Includes the parable
"Before the Law"
Kafka Der Prozess 1925.jpg
The Castle Das Schloss (1926) Willa and Edwin Muir (1930);
Mark Harman (1998);
J. A. Underwood (2000);
Anthea Bell (2009)
published in two versions –
Max Brod's 1926 edition and
a "definitive edition" in 1951
Kafka Das Schloss 1926.jpg
Amerika
or The Man Who Disappeared;
Amerika: The Missing Person
Amerika or Der Verschollene (1927) Willa and Edwin Muir (1938);
Michael Hofmann (2004);
Mark Harman (2008)
Includes the short story
"The Stoker" as first chapter
Kafka Amerika 1927.jpg

Short stories[edit]

P literature.svg This literature-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
First Edition of Betrachtung (Contemplation) (1912)
Contemplation (Betrachtung) (1912),
included in The Complete Stories and
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
English title German title
"Children on a Country Road" "Kinder auf der Landstraße"
"The Trees" "Die Bäume"
"Clothes" "Kleider"
"Excursion into the Mountains" "Der Ausflug ins Gebirge"
"Rejection" "Die Abweisung"
"The Street Window" "Das Gassenfenster"
"The Tradesman" "Der Kaufmann"
"Absent-minded Window-gazing" "Zerstreutes Hinausschaun"
"The Way Home" "Der Nachhauseweg"
"Passers-by" "Die Vorüberlaufenden"
"On the Tram" "Der Fahrgast"
"Reflections for Gentlemen-Jockeys" "Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter"
"The Wish to be a Red Indian" "Wunsch, Indianer zu werden"
"Unhappiness" "Unglücklichsein"
"Bachelor's Ill Luck" "Das Unglück des Junggesellen"
"Unmasking a Confidence Trickster" "Entlarvung eines Bauernfängers"
"The Sudden Walk" "Der plötzliche Spaziergang"
"Resolutions" "Entschlüsse"
"A Country Doctor" ("Ein Landarzt") (1919),
included in The Complete Stories
English title German title
"The New Advocate" "Der neue Advokat"
"A Country Doctor" "Ein Landarzt" (1919)
"Up in the Gallery" "Auf der Galerie"
"An Old Manuscript" "Ein altes Blatt"
"Before the Law" "Vor dem Gesetz" (part of "The Trial")
"Jackals and Arabs" "Schakale und Araber"
"A Visit to a Mine" "Ein Besuch im Bergwerk"
"The Next Village" "Das nächste Dorf"
"A Message from the Emperor" "Eine kaiserliche Botschaft" (part of "The Great Wall of China")
"The Cares of a Family Man" "Die Sorge des Hausvaters"
"Eleven Sons" "Elf Söhne"
"A Fratricide" "Der Mord / Ein Brudermord"
"A Dream" "Ein Traum"
"A Report to an Academy" "Ein Bericht für eine Akademie"
Shorter stories and parables
English title Original German title Collected in:
"Shamefaced Lanky and Impure in Heart" "Der Unredliche in seinem Herzen" (1958, written 1902) Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors
"Description of a Struggle"
includes two dialogues originally published separately:
"Conversation with the Supplicant"
"Conversation with the Drunk"
"Beschreibung eines Kampfes" (1909)

"Gespräch mit dem Beter"
"Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen"
Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories;
Both dialogues originally published in Hyperion (Munich, 1909);
a different version of "Conversation with the Supplicant"
appears in The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
"Wedding Preparations in the Country" "Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande" (1954, written 1907-1908) The Complete Stories,
Dearest Father. Stories and Other Writings
"The Judgment" "Das Urteil" (1913) The Complete Stories,
The Sons,
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
The Metamorphosis Die Verwandlung (1915) The Complete Stories,
The Sons,
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
"The Stoker" "Der Heizer" (1913) The Sons;
first chapter of Amerika
"In the Penal Colony" "In der Strafkolonie" (1919) The Complete Stories,
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
"The Village Schoolmaster (The Giant Mole)" "Der Dorfschullehrer"
or Der Riesenmaulwurf (1931, written 1915)
The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor" "Blumfeld, ein älterer Junggeselle" (1936, written 1913) Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
The Warden of the Tomb (short play) Der Gruftwächter (written 1916-17) Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
"The Hunter Gracchus" "Der Jäger Gracchus" (1931, written 1917) The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes,
The Great Wall of China
"The Great Wall of China" "Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer" (1931, written 1917) The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"The Refusal" "Die Abweisung" (written 1920) Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes
"A Hunger Artist" "Ein Hungerkünstler" (1922) The Complete Stories,
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
Kafka Ein Hungerkünstler 1924.jpg
"Investigations of a Dog" "Forschungen eines Hundes" (written 1922) The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"A Little Woman" "Eine kleine Frau" (1924) The Complete Stories,
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
"The Burrow" "Der Bau" (1931) The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"Josephine the Singer,
or The Mouse Folk
"
"Josefine, die Sängerin oder Das Volk der Mäuse" (1924) The Complete Stories,
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
"The Bridge" "Die Brücke" The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"The Bucket Rider" "Der Kübelreiter" (1921, written 1917) The Complete Stories,
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces,
The Great Wall of China
"The Knock at the Manor Gate" "Der Schlag ans Hoftor" The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"My Neighbor" "Der Nachbar" (written 1917) The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"A Crossbreed" "Eine Kreuzung" The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"A Common Confusion" "Eine alltägliche Verwirrung" The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"The Truth about Sancho Panza" "Die Wahrheit über Sancho Pansa" The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes,
The Great Wall of China
"The Silence of the Sirens" "Das Schweigen der Sirenen" The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes,
The Great Wall of China
"Prometheus" "Prometheus" (written 1917-23) The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes,
The Great Wall of China
"The City Coat of Arms" "Das Stadtwappen" The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes,
The Great Wall of China
"Poseidon" "Poseidon" (written 1920) Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes
"Fellowship" "Gemeinschaft" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
"At Night" "Nachts" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
"The Problem of Our Laws" "Zur Frage der Gesetze" The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes,
The Great Wall of China
"The Conscription of Troops" "Die Truppenaushebung" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
"The Test" "Die Prüfung" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes
"The Vulture" "Der Geier" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes
"The Helmsman" "Der Steuermann" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
"The Top" "Der Kreisel" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
A Little Fable "Kleine Fabel" The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
Home-Coming "Heimkehr" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
First Sorrow "Erstes Leid" (written 1921-22) The Complete Stories,
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
"The Departure" "Der Aufbruch" (written 1920-21) Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
"Advocates" "Fürsprecher" (written 1922) Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
"The Married Couple" "Das Ehepaar" (written 1922) The Complete Stories,
The Great Wall of China
"Give It Up!" "Gibs auf!" Description of a Struggle,
The Complete Stories
"On Parables" "Von den Gleichnissen" The Complete Stories,
Parables and Paradoxes,
The Great Wall of China
"Peking and the Emperor" "Der Kaiser von Peking" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Great Wall
and the Tower of Babel"
"Die Chinesische Mauer
und der Turmbau von Babel"
Parables and Paradoxes
"Paradise" "Das Paradies" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Tower of Babel" "Der Turm zu Babel" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Pit of Babel" "Der Schacht von Babel" Parables and Paradoxes
"Abraham" "Abraham" Parables and Paradoxes
"Mount Sinai" "Der Berg Sinai" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Building of the Temple" "Der Tempelbau" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Animal in the Synagogue" "Das Tier in der Synagoge" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Watchman" "Der Wächter" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Coming of the Messiah" "Das Kommen des Messias" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Sirens" "Die Sirenen" Parables and Paradoxes
"Leopards in the Temple" "Leoparden in Tempel" Parables and Paradoxes
"Alexander the Great" "Alexander der Grosse" Parables and Paradoxes
"Diogenes" "Diogenes" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Building of a City" "Der Bau einer Stadt" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Imperial Colonel" "Der Kaiserliche Oberst" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Emperor" "Der Kaiser" Parables and Paradoxes
"In the Caravansary" "In der Karawanserei" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Cell" "Die Zelle" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Invention of the Devil" "Die Erfindung des Teufels" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Savages" "Die Wilden" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Green Dragon" "Der Grüne Drache" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Tiger" "Der Tiger" Parables and Paradoxes
"Couriers" "Kuriere" Parables and Paradoxes
"A Chinese Puzzle" "Ein Geduldspiel" Parables and Paradoxes
"Robinson Crusoe" "Robinson Crusoe" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Spring" "Die Quelle" Parables and Paradoxes
"The Hunger Strike" "Die Unersättlichsten" Parables and Paradoxes
"My Destination" "Das Ziel" Parables and Paradoxes

Non-fiction[edit]

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Diaries and notebooks[edit]

Title Original German title Translators Notes
Diaries 1910–1923 Tagebücher 1910–1923 1910–1913 Joseph Kresh
1914–1923 Martin Greenberg
Originally published in two volumes
The Blue Octavo Notebooks Ernst Kaiser and
Eithne Wilkins
included in
Dearest Father. Stories and Other Writings

Letters[edit]

Kafka wrote hundreds of letters to family and close female friends, including his father, his fiancée Felice Bauer, and his youngest sister Ottla.

Title Original German title Translators Notes
Letter to His Father Brief an den Vater Ernst Kaiser and
Eithne Wilkins
Included in The Sons and
Dearest Father. Stories and Other Writings
Letters to Felice Briefe an Felice und andere
Korrespondenz aus der Verlobungszeit
James Stern and
Elisabeth Duckworth
Includes Kafka's letters to Grete Bloch
Letters to Milena Briefe an Milena Philip Boehm Includes Milena's letters to Max Brod,
four essays by her and an obituary for Kafka
Letters to Ottla Briefe an Ottla und die Familie Richard and Clara Winston Includes letters to Kafka's parents, sister Ottla, postcards, and drawings
Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors Briefe 1902–1924 Richard and Clara Winston Includes a selection from the slips
of paper Kafka used to communicate
in the last few weeks of his life
when he was advised not to speak

Essays[edit]

Title Original German title Notes Included in:
The Aeroplanes At Brescia Die Aeroplane in Brescia Report on the air show at Brescia The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
The First Long Train Journey Die erste lange Eisenbahnfahrt Written by Kafka and Max Brod The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
Review of Hyperion Eine entschlafene Zeitschrift Review of the literary magazine The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
Review of A Novel about Youth Ein Roman der Jugend Review of Felix Sternheim's
Die Geschichte des jungen Oswald
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces
On Kleist's "Anecdotes" Über Kleist's Anekdoten Review of a collection of Heinrich Kleist's anecdotes The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces

Work-related writings[edit]

Title Year Included in:
The Scope of Compulsory Insurance
for the Building trades
1908 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Speech on the Occasion of the Inauguration
of the Institute's New Director
1909 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Fixed-Rate Insurance Premiums for
Small Farms Using Machinery
1909 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Inclusion of Private Automobile "Firms"
in the Compulsory Insurance Program
1909 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Appeal against Risk Classification
of Christian Geipel & Sohn,
Mechanical Weaving Mill in Asch
1910 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Measures for Preventing Accidents
from Wood-Planing Machines
1910 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
On the Examination of Firms
by Trade Inspectors
1911 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Workmen's Insurance and Employers:
Two Articles in the Tetschen Bodenbacher Zeitung
1911 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Petition of the Toy Producers' Association
in Katharinaberg, Erzgebirge
1912 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Risk Classification Appeal by Norbert Hochsieder,
Boarding House Owner in Marienbad
1912 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Letters to the Workmen's Accident
Insurance Institute in Prague
1912–15 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Criminal Charge against Josef Renelt for
the Illegal Withholding of Insurance Fees
1913 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Second International Congress on
Accident Prevention and First Aid in Vienna
1913 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Accident Prevention in Quarries 1914 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Jubilee Report: Twenty-Five Years of the
Workmen's Accident Insurance Institute
1914 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
Risk Classification and Accident
Prevention in Wartime
1915 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
A Public Psychiatric Hospital
for German-Bohemia
1916 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
"Help Disabled Veterans! An Urgent
Appeal to the Public"
1916/1917 Franz Kafka: The Office Writings

Editions and collections[edit]

Works and first publications in German[edit]

Only a few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime: the story collections Betrachtung (Contemplation) and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), and individual stories (such as "Die Verwandlung" ("The Metamorphosis")) in literary magazines. He prepared the story collection Ein Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist) for print, but it was not published until after his death. Kafka's unfinished works, including his novels Der Process, Das Schloss and Amerika (also known as Der Verschollene, The Man Who Disappeared), were published posthumously, mostly by his friend Max Brod, who ignored Kafka's wish to have the manuscripts destroyed. Brod also published letters, diaries and aphorisms.

Many of Kafka's works have uncertain dates of writing and/or were written over long periods of time. In such cases the year the writing of the work began is used. Year and place of the first publication is shown. For many works the German text is available, for several works also an English translation. It is linked in columns "de" (short for "deutsch", German) and "en" (short for English).

Standard English title German title Literal English title de en Genre Date of writing Date of first publication Place of publication Cover Remarks
Amerika or The Man Who Disappeared Amerika or
Der Verschollene
America de novel 1912 1927 Leipzig Kafka Amerika 1927.jpg title Amerika by Brod, contains "Der Heizer" ("The Stoker")
The Trial Der Process de novel 1914 1925 Berlin Kafka Der Prozess 1925.jpg also spelled in German as Der Prozess and Der Prozeß
The Castle Das Schloss The Castle de novel 1922 1926 Leipzig Kafka Das Schloss 1926.jpg also spelled in German as Das Schloß
Contemplation
also known as Meditation
Betrachtung de story collection 1904–1912 1912 Leipzig Kafka Betrachtung 1912.jpg some stories from 1908 in Hyperion
A Country Doctor Ein Landarzt de story collection 1919 1919 Leipzig CountryDoctor.jpg
A Hunger Artist Ein Hungerkünstler de story collection 1922 1924 Prague Kafka Ein Hungerkünstler 1924.jpg
The Great Wall of China Beim Bau der chinesischen Mauer de story collection 1918 1931 Berlin
The Warden of the Tomb Der Gruftwächter play 1916–1917 1958 New York in Description of a Struggle
"Description of a Struggle"
including "Conversation with the Supplicant",

"Conversation with the Drunk"

"Beschreibung eines Kampfes" including "Gespräch mit dem Beter",

"Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen"

Urteil, Beter, Betrunkener story 1904 1909 Munich dialogues first in Hyperion
"Wedding Preparations in the Country" "Hochzeitsvorbereitungen auf dem Lande" de story 1907–1908 1954 London an incomplete work intended to be a novel
"The Aeroplanes At Brescia" "Die Aeroplane in Brescia" de story 1909 1909 September Prague first in Bohemia
The First Long Journey by Rail (Prague-Zurich) story 1912 May 1912 in Herderblätter first chapter of unfinished novel Richard und Samuel: Eine kleine Reise durch mitteleuropäische Gegenden
"The Judgment" "Das Urteil" The Verdict de story 1912 22–23 September 1913 Leipzig in the literary yearbook Arkadia
"The Metamorphosis" "Die Verwandlung" The Transformation de en story 1912 1915 Leipzig Metamorphosis.jpg in Die Weißen Blätter
"The Stoker" "Der Heizer" de story 1913 1927 Leipzig in Amerika
"Before the Law" "Vor dem Gesetz" de en story 1914 1915 Prague in the independent Jewish weekly Selbstwehr, in Ein Landarzt, in Der Process
"In the Penal Colony" "In der Strafkolonie" de en story 1914 1919 Leipzig
"The Village Schoolmaster"
("The Giant Mole")
"Der Dorfschullehrer" or "Der Riesenmaulwurf" de story 1914–1915 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor" "Blumfeld, ein älterer Junggeselle" de story 1915 1958 New York in Description of a Struggle
"The Hunter Gracchus" "Der Jäger Gracchus" de story 1917 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"A Common Confusion" "Eine alltägliche Verwirrung" de story 1917 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"The Bridge" "Die Brücke" de story 1917 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"A Report to an Academy" "Ein Bericht für eine Akademie" de en story 1917 1917 Prague in Der Jude
"Jackals and Arabs" "Schakale und Araber" de en story 1917 1917 Prague in Der Jude
"A Crossbreed" "Eine Kreuzung" de story 1917 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"The Knock at the Manor Gate" "Der Schlag ans Hoftor" de story 1917 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"The Silence of the Sirens" "Das Schweigen der Sirenen" de story 1917 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"The Truth about Sancho Panza" "Die Wahrheit über Sancho Pansa" de story 1917 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"The Great Wall of China" "Beim Bau der chinesischen Mauer" At the building of the Chinese Wall de en story 1918 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"Prometheus" "Prometheus" de story 1918 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"A Country Doctor" "Ein Landarzt" de en story 1919 1919 Leipzig in Ein Landarzt
"An Old Manuscript" "Ein altes Blatt" "An old page" or "An old leaf" de story 1919 1920 Leipzig in Ein Landarzt
"The City Coat of Arms" "Das Stadtwappen" de story 1920 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"The Problem of Our Laws" "Zur Frage der Gesetze" de story 1920 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"On Parables" "Von den Gleichnissen" de story 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"A Little Fable" "Kleine Fabel" de story 1920 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"Poseidon" "Poseidon" de story 1920 1936 in collection Beschreibung eines Kampfes
"The Refusal" "Die Abweisung" The Rejection story 1920 1970 Frankfurt title by Brod, same as a different earlier story by Kafka
"The Bucket Rider" "Der Kübelreiter" de (1921), de (1931) story 1921 1921 Prag in Prager Presse
"A Hunger Artist"
("A Fasting Artist",
"A Starvation Artist")
"Ein Hungerkünstler" de en story 1922 1922 Prague in Die neue Rundschau, then in Ein Hungerkünstler
"First Sorrow" "Erstes Leid" de story 1921–1922 1922 Leipzig in periodical Genius
"Investigations of a Dog" "Forschungen eines Hundes" de story 1923 1931 Berlin in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
"A Little Woman" "Eine kleine Frau" de story 1923–1924 1924 Prague in Prager Tagblatt, then in Ein Hungerkünstler
"The Burrow" "Der Bau" de story 1923–1924 1924 in Ein Hungerkünstler
"Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk" "Josefine, die Sängerin, oder Das Volk der Mäuse" de story 1923 1924 Prague in Prager Presse, then in Ein Hungerkünstler
Franz Kafka's Diaries Tagebücher diary 1910–1923 1948 New York
The Blue Octavo Notebooks Oxforder Oktavhefte Oxford Octavo Notebooks notebook 1917–1919 1954 New York also known as The Eight Octavo Notebooks
Letter to His Father Brief an den Vater de letter 1919 November 1966 New York
Letters to Felice Briefe an Felice letter collection 1912–1917 1967 Frankfurt am Main
Letters to Ottla Briefe an Ottla und die Familie Letters to Ottla and to the family letter collection 1909–1924 1974 Frankfurt am Main includes some letters to his parents and other family members
Letters to Milena Briefe an Milena letter collection 1920–23 1952 Frankfurt am Main
Letters to Family, Friends, and Editors Briefe 1902–1924 letter collection 1900–24 1959 New York most of the letters are to Brod
Zürau Aphorisms, The Die Zürauer Aphorismen or Betrachtungen über Sünde, Hoffnung, Leid und den wahren Weg Reflections on Sin, Hope, Suffering, and the True Way de aphorisms 1917–18 1931 Cologne Title by Brod

English translations[edit]

Kafka often made extensive use of a characteristic particular to the German language allowing for long sentences that sometimes can span an entire page. Kafka's sentences then deliver an unexpected impact just before the full stop—that being the finalizing meaning and focus. This is achieved due to the construction of certain sentences in German which require that the verb be positioned at the end of the sentence. Such constructions are difficult to duplicate in other languages, so it is up to the resourceful translator to provide the reader with the same (or at least equivalent) effect found in the original text.[1] German's more flexible word order is not the only problem translating German into other languages. German also lacks an informal language register, uses modal connectives, and syntactic structures which can be translated in more than one way.[2] Kafka did not write in standard High German, but rather in a Praguean German heavily influenced by the Yiddish and Czech languages.[3] This has led philosophers Deleuze and Guattari to describe Kafka's linguistic style as "deterritorialized", characterized by a "withered vocabulary" and an "incorrect syntax".[3]

German sentences also have a different syntactic structure. Unlike English, German is a verb-final language, which places the main verb of a verb string (e.g., "transformed" in "had been transformed") at the end of a phrase. The difference can be seen in the contrast between the original German version of the first sentence in Kafka's "The Metamorphosis":

Dependency tree illustrating the difference in syntax between the first sentence of Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" in translation by Ian Johnston and in the original German
Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Traumen erwachte fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheuren Ungeziefer verwandelt. (Original)
As Gregor Samsa one morning from restless dreams awoke, found he himself in his bed into an enormous vermin transformed. (literal word for word translation)[4][5]

Another virtually insurmountable problem facing translators is how to deal with the author's intentional use of ambiguous idioms and words that have several meanings which result in writings difficult to precisely translate.[6][7] One such instance is found in the first sentence of "The Metamorphosis".[6] English translators have often sought to render the word Ungeziefer as "insect"; in today's German it means vermin. It is sometimes used colloquially to mean "bug" – a very general term, unlike the scientific sounding "insect". Kafka had no intention of labeling Gregor, the protagonist of the story, as any specific thing, but instead wanted to convey Gregor's disgust at his transformation. Translators have chosen numerous inexact and unsatisfactory ways to represent "[zu einem] ungeheuren Ungeziefer", unable to convey the repetition of the first two syllables and the equal four syllables of the two words in German:

  • "gigantic insect" (Muir, 1948)
  • "monstrous vermin" (Corngold, 1972, Neugroschel, 1993/1995, Freed, 1996)
  • "giant bug" (Underwood, 1981)
  • "monstrous insect" (Pasley, 1992)
  • "enormous bug" (Appelbaum, 1996)
  • "monstrous cockroach" (Hofmann, 2007)

Another example is Kafka's use of the German noun Verkehr in the final sentence of The Judgment. Literally, Verkehr means intercourse and, as in English, can have either a sexual or non-sexual meaning; in addition, it is used to mean transport or traffic. The sentence can be translated as: "At that moment an unending stream of traffic crossed over the bridge".[8] What gives added weight to the obvious double meaning of 'Verkehr' is Kafka's confession to Brod that when he wrote that final line, he was thinking of "a violent ejaculation".[9][10]

Selected publications in English[edit]

Title Genre Translator Publisher Date of publication Place of publication Remarks
The Castle novel Willa and Edwin Muir Secker & Warburg 1930 London
The Great Wall of China story collection Willa and Edwin Muir Martin Secker 1933 London
The Trial novel Willa and Edwin Muir Victor Gollancz 1937 London
America novel Willa and Edwin Muir Schocken Books 1938 United States
The Diaries Of Franz Kafka diaries Joseph Kresh, Martin Greenberg and Hannah Arendt Peregrine Books 1963
Amerika novel Mark Harman Schocken Books 2008 United States
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces story collection Willa and Edwin Muir Schocken Books 1948 United States
Dearest Father. Stories and Other Writings letters Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins Schocken Books 1954 United States
Description of a Struggle story collection Tania and James Stern Schocken Books 1958 United States
Parables and Paradoxes story collection Clement Greenberg, Ernst Kaiser & Eithne Wilkins, Willa & Edwin Muir, Tania & James Stern Schocken Books 1961 United States
The Complete Stories story collection Willa & Edwin Muir, Tania & James Stern Schocken Books 1971 United States
Letters to Family, Friends, and Editors letters Richard and Clara Winston Schocken Books 1977 United States
The Sons story collection Schocken Books 1989 United States
The Zürau Aphorisms aphorisms Michael Hofmann Schocken Books 2006 United States

Schocken editions[edit]

Title Year Translators Notes
The Great Wall of China. Stories and Reflections 1946 Willa and Edwin Muir
The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces 1948 Willa and Edwin Muir
Dearest Father. Stories and Other Writings 1954 Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins
Description of a Struggle 1958 Tania and James Stern
Parables and Paradoxes 1961 Clement Greenberg; Richard and Clara Winston;
Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins;
Willa and Edwin Muir; Tania and James Stern
Bilingual edition
The Complete Stories 1971 Willa and Edwin Muir;
Tania and James Stern
Reprinted in 1995
with a foreword by John Updike
I Am a Memory Come Alive 1974 Martin Greenberg and Hannah Arendt;
Joseph Kresh; Gerald Onn;
Willa and Edwin Muir; Tania and James Stern;
Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins
Autobiographical writings selected
from diaries, letters, and aphorisms
The Sons 1989 Willa and Edwin Muir Translations revised and updated
by Arthur Wensinger
The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony,
and Other Stories
1995 Willa and Edwin Muir Includes all the stories
published in Kafka's lifetime
The Zürau Aphorisms 2006 Michael Hofmann; Geoffrey Brock

Other editions[edit]

Title Year Publisher Translators Notes
The Basic Kafka 1979 Pocket Books Willa and Edwin Muir
Tania and James Stern
Richard and Clara Winston
A selection from Kafka's
short stories, diaries, and letters.
The Penguin Complete
Novels of Franz Kafka
1983 Penguin Books Willa and Edwin Muir Includes The Trial,
The Castle, and Amerika;
republished by Vintage in 1999
Metamorphosis and Other Stories 2007 Penguin Classics Collection of Kafka's works
Franz Kafka: The Office Writings 2008 Princeton University Press Eric Patton; Ruth Hein A selection of Kafka's professional writings
Kafka's Greatest Stories 2010 Vook Enhanced with video providing historical background on Kafka's life and influences.)
Essential Kafka: Rendezvous with Otherness 2011 Authorhouse Enhanced with video providing historical background on Kafka's life and influences.)

Collaborations[edit]

English title Original German title Written with: Notes
Richard and Samuel Richard und Samuel Max Brod Intended to be a novel; only the first chapter was completed.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kafka 1996, p. xi.
  2. ^ Newmark 1991, pp. 63–64.
  3. ^ a b Deleuze & Guattari 1986, pp. 22–25.
  4. ^ Prinsky 2002.
  5. ^ Poulakis 2005.
  6. ^ a b Lawson 1960, pp. 216–219.
  7. ^ Rhine 1989, pp. 447–458.
  8. ^ Kafka 1996, p. 75.
  9. ^ Brod 1960, p. 129.
  10. ^ Hawes 2008, p. 50.
  11. ^ The Kafka Project – Erstes Kapitel des Buches "Richard und Samuel" von Max Brod und Franz Kafka (in German)

Bibliography[edit]