Franz Kafka

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

"Der neue Advokat," by Franz Kafka: "The New Advocate," English version. "Der neue Advokat," by Franz Kafka ("The New Advocate") with Original Text in German, "The New Advocate," translated in English by LiteraryJoint


 
Franz Kafka, portrait, 1906



The New Advocate


We have a new lawyer, Dr. Bucephalus. There is little reminiscence in his appearance of the time when he was once Alexander the Great's battle horse. However, those familiar with the circumstances noticed something. But even a simple court attendant, whom I saw the other day on the front steps of the Law Courts, a man with the skilled eye of the regular modern racetrack follower, was running an admiring eye over the advocate as he mounted the marble steps with a high action that made them reverberate beneath his feet.
In general, the Bar approves the admission of Bucephalus. With astonishing insight one tells himself that, in today's society, Bucephalus is in a difficult situation, and therefore, considering also his importance in the history of the world, he deserves at least a friendly reception. Today - it cannot be denied - there is no Alexander the Great. There are plenty of men who know how to murder people; there is no lack of the skills needed to strike a friend with a lance over the banquet table; and for many Macedonia is too narrow, so that they curse Philip, the father - but no one, no one at all, can lead to India. Even in his days, the gates of India were unreachable, yet the King's sword pointed the way to them. Today the gates have receded to remoter and higher places; nobody shows the direction; many carry swords, but only to brandish them, and the eye that tries to follow them is confused.
So, perhaps, it is really best to do as Bucephalus has done, and absorb oneself in law books. In the quietness of the lamplight, his flanks unconfined by the thighs of a rider, free and far from the clamor of battles, he reads and turns the pages of our old tomes.

From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on Amazon Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Koboand as printed, traditional edition through Lulu.

Der neue Advokat



Wir haben einen neuen Advokaten, den Dr. Bucephalus. In seinem Äußern erinnert wenig an die Zeit, da er noch Streitroß Alexanders von Mazedonien war. Wer allerdings mit den Umständen vertraut ist, bemerkt einiges. Doch sah ich letzthin auf der Freitreppe selbst einen ganz einfältigen Gerichtsdiener mit dem Fachblick des kleinen Stammgastes der Wettrennen den Advokaten bestaunen, als dieser, hoch die Schenkel hebend, mit auf dem Marmor aufklingendem Schritt von Stufe zu Stufe stieg. 
Im allgemeinen billigt das Barreau die Aufnahme des Bucephalus. Mit erstaunlicher Einsicht sagt man sich, daß Bucephalus bei der heutigen Gesellschaftsordnung in einer schwierigen Lage ist und daß er deshalb, sowie auch wegen seiner weltgeschichtlichen Bedeutung, jedenfalls Entgegenkommen verdient. Heute - das kann niemand leugnen - gibt es keinen großen Alexander. Zu morden verstehen zwar manche; auch an der Geschicklichkeit, mit der Lanze über den Bankettisch hinweg den Freund zu treffen, fehlt es nicht; und vielen ist Mazedonien zu eng, so daß sie Philipp, den Vater, verfluchen - aber niemand, niemand kann nach Indien führen. Schon damals waren Indiens Tore unerreichbar, aber ihre Richtung war durch das Königsschwert bezeichnet. Heute sind die Tore ganz anderswohin und weiter und höher vertragen; niemand zeigt die Richtung; viele halten Schwerter, aber nur, um mit ihnen zu fuchteln, und der Blick, der ihnen folgen will, verwirrt sich.
Vielleicht ist es deshalb wirklich das beste, sich, wie es Bucephalus getan hat, in die Gesetzbücher zu versenken. Frei, unbedrückt die Seiten von den Lenden des Reiters, bei stiller Lampe, fern dem Getöse der Alexanderschlacht, liest und wendet er die Blätter unserer alten Bücher.


The New Advocate
by Franz Kafka
We have a new advocate, Dr. Bucephalus. There is little in his appearance to remind you that he was once Alexander of Macedon's battle charger. Of course, if you know his story, you are aware of something. But even a simple usher whom I saw the other day on the front steps of the Law Courts, a man with the professional appraisal of the regular small bettor at a racecourse, was running an admiring eye over the 
advocate as he mounted the marble steps with a high action that made them ring beneath his feet. 
       In general the Bar approves the admission of Bucephalus. With astonishing insight people tell themselves that, modern society being what it is, Bucephalus is in a difficult position, and therefore, considering also his importance in the history of the world, he deserves at least a friendly reception. Nowadays -- it cannot be denied -- there is no Alexander the Great. There are plenty of men who know how to murder people; the skill needed to reach over a banqueting table and pink a friend with a lance is not lacking; and for many Macedonia is too confining, so that they curse Philip, the father -- but no one, no one at all, can blaze a trail to India. Even in his day the gates of India were beyond reach, yet the King's sword pointed the way to them. Today the gates have receded to remoter and loftier places; no one points the way; many carry swords, but only to brandish them, and the eye that tries to follow them is confused. 
 So perhaps it is really best to do as Bucephalus has done and absorb oneself in law books. In the quiet lamplight, his flanks unhampered by the thighs of a rider, free and far from the clamor of battle, he reads and turns the pages of our ancient tomes. 
- See more at: http://sudaquia.net/index.php?route=community/news/readers_article&article_id=15#sthash.hsTWJDNf.dpuf

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