Mark Harman is Professor of English and Modern Languages at Elizabethtown College. The paperback edition of his translation of Franz Kafka’s Amerika: The Missing Person appeared in August. (September 2011)

IN THE REVIEW

Kafka’s ‘A Message from the Emperor’: A New Translation

Franz Kafka; drawing by Tullio Pericoli
Kafka’s “A Message from the Emperor” made its first appearance in the Prague Zionist journal Die Selbstwehr (Self-Defense) in September 1919, the year the thirty-six-year-old Kafka composed his famous letter to his father. Hauntingly oblique, the story weaves together childlike hopefulness and stoical resignation, metaphysical yearning and psychological insight, a …

NYR DAILY

Kafka’s “A Message From the Emperor”: A New Translation

Stone statue in the grave site called Yongdingling, where the emperors of the Northern Song dynasty rest, Gongxian, China, 1982

Kafka’s “A Message From the Emperor” made its first appearance in the Prague Zionist journal Die Selbstwehr (“Self-defense”) in September 1919, the year the thirty-six-year-old Kafka composed his famous letter to his father. Hauntingly oblique, the story weaves together child-like hopefulness and stoical resignation, metaphysical yearning and psychological insight, a seemingly Chinese tale and covert Jewish themes.