Lyrical, mysterious, and laden with symbolism, Franz Kafka’s novels and stories have been translated into more than forty languages ranging from Icelandic to Japanese. In Transforming Kafka, Patrick O’Neill approaches these texts through the method he pioneered in Polyglot Joyce and Impossible Joyce, considering the many translations of each work as a single, multilingual “macrotext.”
Examining three novels – The Trial, The Castle, and America – and two short stories – “The Judgment” and “The Metamorphosis” – O’Neill offers comparative readings that consider both intertextual and intratextual themes. His innovative approach shows how comparing translations extends and expands the potential meanings of the text and reveals the subtle differences among the hundreds of translations of Kafka’s work. A sophisticated analysis of the ways in which translation shapes, rearranges, and expands our understanding of literary works, Transforming Kafka is a unique approach to reading the works of a literary giant.
About the author
Patrick O’Neill is a professor emeritus in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Queen’s University.
‘Transforming Kafka is a peculiarly original and rewarding introduction to the author’s corpus as well as to its transmutations beyond German. By deftly comparing opening paragraphs, titles, and proper names of five canonical texts in a range of translations, O’Neill elucidates prevailing themes and isolates pervasive ambiguities in Kafka.’
Canadian Literature issue number 226
Other titles by Patrick O'Neill
Tales of Translation
The Anna Livia Variations
Fictions of Translation
Acts of Narrative
Textual Strategies in Modern German Fiction
Fictions of Discourse
Reading Narrative Theory
The Comedy of Entropy