Review by Choice Review
Kafka's incomplete novel Das Schloss--first published in 1926, in an edition prepared by his friend Max Brod--went largely unsold according to the publisher. The first English translation (The Castle), by Edwin and Willa Muir (1930), was no great success either, though it saved Brod's work and served as the "standard" English edition. Once Kafka became a staple of literary studies, scholars began to voice questions about the adequacy of both the Brod edition and the Muirs' translation. But access to the original manuscripts, in Brod's possession, was not possible until 1961, and a German scholarly edition, edited by Malcolm Pasley, did not appear until 1982. This two-volume edition restored Kafka's punctuation, eliminated Brod's emendations, and corrected numerous transcription errors. It also provided Kafka's deletions. This English edition uses the Pasley translation but unfortunately excludes the variants. Harman's excellent translation follows Kafka's original, unconventional punctuation much more closely, and it renders the text more literally and accurately than did the Muirs' version. The Harman translation, now unquestionably the edition for those in the English-speaking world who cannot read the German original, includes the translator's valuable preface. Publication of the new Castle is a signal event in publishing history and Kafka scholarship. Every library will want this book. J. Hardin; University of South Carolina
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Upon his death in 1924, Kafka instructed his literary executor, Max Brod, to destroy all his manuscripts. Wisely refusing his friend's last wishes, Brod edited the uncompleted Castle, along with other unfinished works, ordering the fragments into a coherent whole, and had them published. Brod's interpretation of the work as a novel of personal salvation was accepted and strengthened by Willa and Edward Muir, who translated it into English in 1930. Recent scholarship, less willing to accept Brod's version, has led to a new critical edition of the novel, which was published in German in 1982 and which purports to be closer to Kafka's intentions. Harman's translation represents this edition's first appearance in English. Harman's stated goal as translator is to reproduce as closely as possible Kafka's style, which results in an English that is stranger and denser than the Muirs' elegant work. A necessary acquisition for anyone interested in Kafka.Michael O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Kafka's great allegory (originally published, posthumously, in 1926) of a supposed surveyor adrift in a ""castle,"" which may be no more than a collection of random buildings, memorably expresses his distinctive vision of a formless and secretive world that frustrates our efforts to comprehend it. This compulsively readable new translation, based on a text ""restored"" from the author's original manuscript, labors to replace the standard English version (by Willa and Edwin Muir) that had ""tone[d] down Kafka's ominousness"" and ""normalized"" his deliberately eccentric syntax and punctuation. In either translation, The Castle is a major modern symbolist work, and it's good to have it in print once again. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.