Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Trial

I'm nearly at the end of rereading Franz Kafka's The Trial. This particular version is not the translation by Willa and Edwin Muir published in 1937, but a copyrighted Project Gutenberg eBook translated by David Wyllie.

It was the translation by Willa and Edwin Muir that I read (or attempted) to read in high school - having been turned on to Kafka by way of one of his short stories being mentioned on a Frank Zappa LP.

Not having the 1937 translation available, I cannot compare it to the Wyllie translation. I don't know if it is because I am much older now than when I first came across the novel, or if Wyllie's translation is superior, but I find the novel easier for me to get through now.

In the wikipedia article covering the work, it's mentioned that The Trial was heavily influenced by Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. I don't see it. Those particular novels are two of my favorites, and I can understand Kafka's being influenced by them, but he does not reach the level of Dostoyevsky. Of course, I read neither Russian nor German - I've only read translations of these great novels - perhaps if I read German, I could see a closer relationship between the two writers.

On the Project Gutenberg webpage where the book is made available, it gives the option of having a version with or without images. Unfortunately, although it says that there are images available, it is not the case. There are no illustrations for this translation. I remember being very impressed by the illustrations used in the original Willa and Edwin Muir translations. I'm a little disappointed that there aren't any for Wyllie's work, but otherwise, I've no complaint with this new translation.

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