Franz Kafka was born in 1883 in Prague, where he lived most of his life. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories, including "The Metamorphosis," "The Judgment," and "The Stoker." He died in 1924, before completing any of his full-length novels. At the end of his life, Kafka asked his lifelong friend and literary executor Max Brod to burn all his unpublished work. Brod overrode those wishes. Mark Harman, a native of Dublin who has written extensively about modern German and Irish literature, is a professor of German and English at Elizabeth College in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. His translation of The Castle received the Modern Language Association's first Lois Roth Award in 1998.
"We are not too far wrong to see in Karl Rossmann the explorer who
maps the internal territory for the later Kafka hero Joseph K. of
The Trial. It is a natural segue, after all, from the youth
who lives to placate to the adult with the inescapable sense of
guilt. In fact, we could propose Kafka as an artist in a lifelong
search of the most accommodating conceit for his vision. Karl is
the earliest of his eponymous heroes, all of them essentially one
tormented soul whose hallucinatory landscape keeps changing."
--E. L. Doctorow
"More than eighty years after his death from tuberculosis at age
forty, Kafka continues to defy simplifications, to force us to
consider him anew. That's the effect of Mark Harman's new
translation of Amerika."
--Los Angeles Times