Review by Choice Review
Gray (Univ. of Washington) and his coauthors offer a wonderfully rich compendium of facts, opinions, explications, and exegeses that cover every conceivable aspect of Kafka's life and writings. Individual articles of varying lengths, by four of the world's leading Kafka scholars, explore in great detail the personages, plots, techniques, and impacts of Kafka's works, and also shed extensive light on his personality, mindset, and approach to the craft of writing. Many of the more substantial articles also provide brief "Further Reading" lists, most frequently in German or English; these add considerably to the book's research and teaching value. Alphabetical and classed lists of entries (with corresponding English key for terms in German) are also very useful features of this intelligently planned, beautifully executed reference work. An extensive and very up-to-date bibliography of secondary works rounds out this encyclopedia, which is sturdily made and printed on NISO permanent paper standard stock. This indispensable volume will be useful for any library supporting programs in modern European literature, and also appropriate for most large public libraries that have collections of contemporary belles lettres. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers. J. H. Spohrer University of California, Berkeley
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Franz Kafka has had an enormous impact on modernist literature, and the legacy of his Kafkaesque writings prefigures the postmodern inability to penetrate meaning and absence of stable definitions. Here, more than 800 entries offer insights into the works, characters, themes, family, friends, and acquaintances of the writer. The aim is to provide background information about Kafka's life and context, his style of writing, and the range of his involvement with the intellectual and cultural climate of his age. The encyclopedia's authors are all professors of German and have published extensively on interpreting and teaching Kafka. The heavily cross-referenced A-Z0 entries vary in length from a few sentences to about a page and are preceded by alphabetical and topical lists of entry headings as well as an alphabetical list of English titles and names, which alerts readers to the German-language names under which the works are entered. Allegory, Expressionism, Free indirect style, Hermeneutics, Orient, 0 and Paradox,0 among other entries for literary concepts and motifs, provide evidence of the range, growth, and development of Kafka scholarship. Entries for Kafka's works detail the composition, publication, main plot elements and themes, and critical reception. The encyclopedia also covers works not published, including manuscripts and sketches in notebooks and diaries. Some entries, generally those regarding published works and literary themes, include further reading references. There is also an extensive selected bibliography. A Franz Kafka Encyclopedia0 is a well-put-together reference work that should be useful for scholars and students. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. --Joseph Thomas Copyright 2005 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
In its classical meaning the term encyclopedia is usually associated with a comprehensive branch of knowledge or topic but rarely with just an individual alone. However, if there is a person whose work, personality, and life story are worthy of an entire encyclopedia, it would be the writer after whom the term Kafkaesque derives. Franz Kafka, of course, was one of the most influential German-language novelists and short story writers of the 20th century. This resource was compiled by published authors and scholars of German at various American universities to address the "[f]undamental indecipherability" of Kafka's work and the confusing world of his fiction. The 800-plus A-Z entries provide basic background on Kafka, his published and unpublished work, writing style, primary characters and themes, social environment, and his various experiences; most cite works for further reading. The volume includes several tables of contents that group and arrange entries according to broad categories to serve as access points for ease of use. There is a listing of Kafka's works and characters in the original German, and a separate English-German alphabetical "Key" is also provided for the non-German reader. Bottom Line In the absence of adequate reference tools about Kafka, this impressive but easy-to-navigate volume will be useful for students, specialists, and general readers. Highly recommended for all large collections, Kafka lovers, and specialists on the run; essential for serious literature collections.-Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.