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Selected Stories

Selected Stories

Selected Stories

By Franz Kafka
Translated and Edited by Mark Harman

"The translations are surely definitive – Harman’s grasp of the German language is as comprehensive as was the Czech-born Kafka’s – but the prime value of the book is in the annotation. Every nuance of language is flagged, every cross-reference is followed up, every subtle shade of humour is highlighted. This is academic work as it should be done, in faithful service to the text and to its readers."― John Banville, The Guardian

“Richly illustrated and filled with fascinating references to contemporary sources, critical commentary and relevant passages from Kafka’s letters and diaries…Anyone interested in knowing more about these stories will find this volume a treasure trove.”―Karen Leeder, Times Literary Supplement

“[This book] gives us crisp new translations of Franz Kafka’s best novellas and tales and also a substantial scholarly introduction to his life and work…Ironies…lurk in Kafka’s fiction: in dry, dispassionate sentences that deliver disconcerting changes of perspective and in slyly matter-of-fact descriptions of uncanny events. Harman’s translations recreate these subtle effects with admirable precision; and by uncovering the veins of humour and hope in Kafka’s dark art, he may well win new readers for this gentle master of the absurd.”―Joachim Redner, Australian Book Review

A superb new translation of Kafka’s classic stories, authoritatively annotated and beautifully illustrated.

Selected Stories presents new, exquisite renderings of short works by one of the indisputable masters of the form. Award-winning translator and scholar Mark Harman offers the most sensitive English rendering yet of Franz Kafka’s unique German prose—terse, witty, laden with ambiguities and double meanings. With his in-depth biographical introduction and notes illuminating the stories and placing them in context, Harman breathes new life into masterpieces that have often been misunderstood.

Included are sixteen stories, arranged chronologically to convey a sense of Kafka’s artistic development. Some, like “The Judgment,” “In the Penal Colony,” “A Hunger Artist,” and “The Transformation” (usually, though misleadingly, translated as “The Metamorphosis”), represent the pinnacle of Kafka’s achievement. Accompanying annotations highlight the wordplay and cultural allusions of the original German, pregnant with irony and humor that English readers have often missed.

Although Kafka has frequently been cast as a loner, in part because of his quintessential depictions of modern alienation, he had a number of close companions. Harman draws on Kafka’s diaries, extensive correspondence, and engagement with early twentieth-century debates about Darwinism, psychoanalysis, and Zionism to construct a rich portrait of Kafka in his world. A work of both art and scholarship, Selected Stories transforms our understanding and appreciation of a singular imagination. 

304 pages
Belknap Press, 2024
5.5 x .87 x 8.25 inches
ISBN 9780674737983     
Franz Kafka, Short Stories

$29.95 $29.95