A Kafka For The 21st Century
by Arthur Samuelson, publisher, Schocken Books

About the new translation

The new Schocken translation is being hailed as a major scholarly, literary and publishing event. Writes Mark Anderson of Columbia University: "The new Schocken edition of Frank Kafka's last novel, The Castle , represents a major and long-awaited event in English-language publishing... and a wonderful piece of news for all Kafka readers who, for more than half a century, have had to rely on flawed, superannuated editions."

This new translation is of particular interest to our readers. Mark Harman, the translator, contends that The Castle deeply reflects Kafka's new-found preoccupation with his Jewish identity and with the questions that confronted Jewish intellectuals of his generation: "What does it mean to be a Jew when one has inherited little by way of Jewish heritage from one's parents? How should one relate to the dominant culture so blindly adulated by one's parents? In what language should Jews write?"

This groundbreaking translation marks the beginning of Schocken's ambitious project to reissue all of Kafka's works based on the restored text in the German critical editions. Recently released, The Castle is based on the first volume of this restored text which corrected numerous transcription errors in the earlier editions and removed all of Max Brod's editorial and stylistic intervention. Thus, for the first time, English-speaking readers can read Kafka's haunting novel as he left it.

In honor of this occasion, New York City is dedicating the month of March to the celebration of Kafka's literary legacy. The first event, a literary evening at Town Hall, is co-sponsored by the PEN American Center with Schocken Books/Random House, the Czech Center (NY), the Goethe House, and the Austrian Cultural Institute.



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