Thanks to Brod’s efforts, Kafka has become world famous far beyond what he experienced in his lifetime. But readers could only access Brodd’s distorted adaptation of Kafka’s literary bequest, whether in German, English, or some other language. His version became the basis for all of Kafka’s translations until Brod’s death in 1968. Some of them were things my friends and I had read in the school library.
After Brodd, a new German version of Kafka’s posthumous work appeared. It adheres more closely to Kafka’s manuscript, maintaining its rough edges and idiosyncrasies, fluidity and instability. These included a restored version of a diary that fascinated me. His record of his unsuccessful attempt to transfer to the page what he called “the incredible world I have in my head” is fragmentary, disjointed, and full of stumbling and stuttering. is included. In the same notebook, he alternated between different styles of writing, jotting down observations and reflections, drafting letters and fiction, describing his dreams, and occasionally interspersed with drawings. He crossed things out, made corrections and insertions, relentlessly reworked the text in successive variations. He began to write incessantly, incessantly pausing and resuming. In his hasty, spontaneous writing of his diary, he wrote unpolished, error-encrusted prose.
This fertile confusion was scarcely found in Brod’s edition and its English translation. Occasionally, when Kafka’s writing efforts resulted in a series of staccato false starts and new iterations that veered in the other direction, Brodd rearranged the discontinuous scraps and stitched them together to create a seamless composite. and discarded anything that didn’t fit into a single unified whole. Also gone are Kafka’s misspellings, omissions, sparse and unorthodox punctuation, occasional confusing syntax, repetitions, abbreviations, contractions, regionalism, and other stylistic quirks and annoyances.
Brod’s drive to cover up what he saw as flaws went beyond just fixing technical flaws. For example, in Kafka’s depiction of a prostitute, Brod removed the line “Hair runs thickly from navel to pubic region.” He deleted the subordinate clause in this sentence that Kafka wrote during his stay in a nudist sanatorium. Broad corrected or simply cut any passages he judged unappealing to Kafka, himself, or others.
The diary sits on the boundary between life and literature, and Kafka’s diary was a testing ground for the idioms and sensibilities he was trying to achieve. Since 1990, this Kafka, restlessly self-correcting and untraceable, was known to the German-speaking world but not to the English-speaking world. The urge to convey to other readers in my native language all that I found singular, important, and fascinating in my unfiltered diary prompted me to correct this. was given.
My translation, which I submitted to the publisher shortly after I turned 40, the age at which Kafka died, was the result of eight years of groping and trying to make sense of Kafka. Not only did he not always or often know what Kafka was going to say, nor was he always sure he knew what he was going to say. Like many diarists, he did not always achieve a clear expression of his childish consciousness, let alone of his own unconscious, but a sort of mental literacy barely hinted at in words and syntax. often relied on simple shorthand or associative logic.