Franz Kafka

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Jersey Blues Selected Poems, A Few Forewords from the Author

Cover of Jersey Blues Selected Poems, 2012

A few forewords from the author:

    In my many years in America, like a pilgrim, or a spiritual vagrant, crisscrossing the country—always rolling on the very fabric of the continent: westwards and eastwards, to the eternal oceans, from the northern vast plains down through the Appalachian, to the deep recesses of the lowlands, to the swamps—infallibly enough, I would always return to my dwelling in Princeton. 
    Many a time the lonely night was devoted to the contemplation the moon of New Jersey, as I licked the wounds of a sore soul. Always wondered I, how different that pale, ghostly circle of a moon was, from the one I encountered elsewhere above the magnificent land that I had been scampering about, and from the lost moon of my childhood.
    Yet, with adulthood—or maturity—seeing at last the rise and fall of earthling matters, I would flinch, my heart recoiling, as from something unpleasant. Thus, through the jaundiced, estranged buoy in the sky, I would recall past memories, and hold out my quivering hand to reach over to the always-receding mysteries of existence. These are, in essence, my "Jersey Blues."

Now available on iBookstore, NOOK Book, Amazon Kindle, and Paperback edition.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Solitario, Solitude, Soledad, a Poem (Italian)

  Train smoke Togrøk, Edvard Munch  1900, The Munch Museum
Check out the English version "Amongst all things I cherish you most"

Più di tutti mi siete cari,                                         
solitari tratturi deserti,
sinuosi sentieri inerpicati
nella bruma, mormorii di passi
soffocati nei declivi silenti,
ascese ad eremi silvestri.

Quando la prima neve
rinchiude gli uomini nelle stanche
dimore, allora anche la timida volpe
fa capolino fuori del bosco,
fiutando col muso aguzzo l'aria
nella scarna sera di novembre.

Similmente il viandante si rasserena
e il suo vagare più non dispera
se la negra terra richiude la corolla
dell'orizzonte e, come antico pianto,
l'obliato cielo di fuliggine
è un manto muto, inenarrabile.

Copyright © 2013 LiteraryJoint
Accedi alla libreria  dell'autore.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Adventurous Simplicissimus: Simplicius Simplicissimus (Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch), by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen, Full Text in English

 (Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch), by Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen, published in 1669

Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus Teutsch, also known as Simplicissimus, is a Baroque picaresque novel by  Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen, also known as Grimmelshausen, written in 1668, which arguably represents the first adventure novel in German language literature. This work is regarded as pivotal in the establishment of Schelmenromane (or villains novels), successful satirical tales on the footsteps of the Spanish picaresque masterpieces. 

Inspired by the harrowing historic events of the Thirty Years' War which devastated Germany in the first half of the XVII century, it portrays the fantastic stories and predicaments of a vagrant by name of Melchior Sternfels von Fuchshaim ("where and how he came into this world, what he has seen, learned, experienced, and endured therein; also why he again left it of his own free will.")

Here is the first nearly complete English-language version freely available on-line, thanks to a collaborative work from The College of William and Mary's students, presenting a well-known A. T. S. Goodrick's translation (1912) of Grimmelshausen's seventeenth-century German classic, known in English as The Adventurous Simplicissimus (a few chapters that Goodrick himself deemed obscene or lacking relevance were omitted.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Eine kaiserliche Botschaft, by Franz Kafka: A Message from the Emperor"

Although it first appeared in the collection Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor) in 1919, the parable "A Message from the Emperor" ("Eine kaiserliche Botschaft"), was originally part of the short tale "The Great Wall of China" ("Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer") written by Franz Kafka in 1917, and published posthomously in  1931 by Max Brod. The  introspective themes of individual alienation, estrangement, and vain await, so dear to Kafka, are also items to be found in the trousseau of the Chinese mystical empire, so incommensurately huge that no fairy tale could adequately represent its size.
"Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer", 1917

  "The empire is immortal, but the individual emperor falls and collapses. Even entire dynasties eventually sink down and breathe their own last death rattle. The people will never know anything about these struggles and suffering. Like those who have come too late, like strangers to the city, they stand at the end of the densely populated side alleyways, quietly living off the provisions they have brought with them, while far off in the market place right in the middle foreground the execution of their master is taking place."

"Eine kaiserliche Botschaft"
 Below is an English version of "A Message from the Emperor" ("Eine kaiserliche Botschaft"), the Chinese legend narrated by Franz Kafka, translated from German by LiteraryJoint.

The Emperor - so it is said - has sent you, to you alone, a single, miserably insignificant subject, the tiniest shadow lost in the farthest distance from the imperial sun, rightly to you the Emperor has sent an important message from his own deathbed.  He made the messenger kneel down by his bed, and whispered his message to his ear; and he deemed it of such importance, that the messenger was urged to repeat it back to the Emperor's ear. By a nod of his head it was confirmed the correctness of what it was said. And before all those witnessing his death (all impeding walls are knocked down and, on the majestic flight of stairs that rises high and wide, the highest ranks of the kingdom stand in a circle) before all of them he dispatched the messenger.
Thus immediately started he off; he is a robust man, indefatigable; maneuvering one arm or the other he makes his way through the crowd; when finding resistance, he points to his breast on which stands the insignia of the sun, so that he can proceed with more ease than anyone else could. Yet it is such an enormous crowd; and its dwellings have no end. Had he only free way, out in the open field, how would he fly! and soon you would hear the marvelous knocking of his fist on your door.
Yet, how toils he in vain! He is still trying to open his way in the private rooms of the innermost palace; he will never be able to go past them; and even if he were able to, this wouldn't be anything at all; he would have to fight his way down the staircase; and even if he were able to, this wouldn't be anything at all; there are still all the courtyards to be crossed; and beyond them the second palace and then again, stairs and courtyards, and so on for thousands of years; and even if he were able to dart out of the last door - but this can never, never actually happen -  then there is the entire imperial city before him, the very center of world, swollen with all of its detritus. No one was ever able to go through it, even more so when carrying the message of a dead man. Yet you sit by the window and dream of it, when the evening falls.

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.

Original text in German: