View Full Version : Kafka experts - pls help me recognize this piece...

03-20-2010, 07:55 AM
Hi all,

I read, a while ago, a story, or most probably a fragment, by Kafka. I didn't finish reading it, and when I wanted to come back to it I realised I had no idea where I read it. Maybe you can help me recognize:

It was about a man (i think he had a sounds-like-jewish name but im not at all sure, i'm pretty sure he had a name though), who arrives to the countryside. he gets lost and doesnt find his way. he meets a man and a woman there, who treat him strangely and being unkind (i remember a paragraph in which the walk together, a few steps ahead of him). its a strange story, even for kafka, with great atmosphere. its probably a fragment... but it had a title, i think.

any bell at all? :alien:

03-20-2010, 07:57 AM
That sounds like Amerika. Since you say it is first, it may be the short fragment that he latter wrote as a romance.

03-20-2010, 12:20 PM
hi, thanks, but how come amerika? amerika begins in a whole different way. do you mean a specific chapter in the novel? can you tell me which one? (i havent read the complete novel).

ps - i meant he was lost in the countryside.

im almost sure ive read its an individual fragment, not from the diaries.

03-20-2010, 02:20 PM
Can it be Das Schloss/The Castle?

The character has no name, though, only "K", but he is looking for this castle in the village and he cannot find the way. There are several people who treat him badly, but he has come there because he has been made the land surveyer so he needs to get to the castle.

I am not sure about the woman you mention, but maybe she occurs later than the first chapter? At any rate, there seem to be several women in this book, so it couldn be one of them.

03-20-2010, 07:07 PM
hi, thank you. i'm sure it was a fragment - but maybe it was a preperation fragment to the castle. i've searched the text for das scloss in english online and couldnt find it though, so you have any idea if that's avilable?

03-20-2010, 07:22 PM
It should certainly be available, I think, but it's not on Gutenberg. Only The Trial is, which I was a little surprised about.

For the rest I don't know. If you really want to know for sure, go to a bookshop that has it on its shelf and have a look in the book.

I could translate a bit for you tomorrow if you wish, from German. If you recognise it, you'll be able to order it, but I wouldn't take on the whole thing... However, I think the first chapter should be alright. Unless you speak German, of course, but in that case I don't think that you would be asking for the text in English.

03-21-2010, 03:46 PM
The man in The Castle never gets lost. He is always moving from one place to another. But in Amerika, in the middle of it, the protagonist do get lost and involved with more than one woman or man who treat him unkindly.

03-22-2010, 11:41 AM
Well, no, not exactly lost, but he at least does not seem to be able to get to the castle where he wants to be.


do you recogise this?

First Chapter

It was late in the evening when K arrived. The village lay in deep snow. Of the castle mount was nothing to be seen; mist and darkness surrounded it. Not even the weakest ray of light designated it. For a long time, K stood on the wooden bridge that led from the main road to the village, and looked into the apparent emptiness. Then he went to search a bed for the night; they were still awake in the inn; though the innkeeper had no room for rent, he wanted, extremely surprised and confused by the late guest, to let K sleep in the main hall on a bag of straw. K agreed with that. Some peasants were still drinking beer, but he didn’t want to talk to anyone, got himself the bag with straw from the attic and laid himself down in the neighbourhood of the hearth. It was warm; the peasants were quiet; a little while longer he examined them with tired eyes, but then fell asleep.

However, shortly after he was already woken up. A young man, urbanely clothed, with the face of an actor, narrow eyes, strong eyebrows, was standing with the innkeeper next to him. The peasants were still there, some had turned round their seats in order to be able to see and hear better. The young person apologised very courteously for having awakened K, introduced himself as son of the castle’s castellan and then said: ‘This village is possession of the castle. Whoever lives or sleeps here, lives or sleeps to a certain extent in the castle. No-one may do this without permission of the count. You do not have such permission or at least you did not show it.’
K sat up a little, straightened his hair, looked at the people from his bed and said: ‘I must have mistaken the village. There is a castle here, isn’t there?’
‘Certainly,‘ said the young man slowly while here and there someone shook his head about K, ‘the castle of count Westwest.’

‘And one needs permission to spend the night?’ asked K, as if he wanted to convince himself that he had not dreamed the earlier information.
‘Permission must be had,’ was the answer, and there was a lot of ridicule in that for K when the young man with stretched arm asked the innkeeper and the guests: ‘Or must one not have permission then?’
‘Then I must get myself such permission,’ said K yawning and moved his blanket as if he wanted to get up.
‘Yes, and from whom then?’ asked the young man.
‘From the count,’ said K, ‘there will be nothing for it.’
‘Now, at midnight, getting permission from the count?’ cried the young man and did a step backwards.
‘Is that not possible?’ asked K imperturbable. ‘Why have you woken me up then?’
Now the young man cried beside himself: ‘A vagabond’s manners! I demand respect for the count’s authority! I have woken you so as to inform you that you will have to leave the count’s territory immediately.’

‘Enough of this farce,’ said K remarkably quietly, laid himself down and pulled the blanket over him: ‘You, young man, have gone a little too far, and I will address your behaviour in the morning. The innkeeper and the gentlemen are my witnesses, as far as I need any that is. Otherwise, let it be said that I am the land surveyor whom the count sent for. My subsidiaries are coming tomorrow with my instruments in a wagon. I didn’t want to miss out on the walk through the snow, but I lost the right way a few times and so I arrived only so late this evening. I already knew by myself, before your instruction, that it is now too late to introduce myself at the castle. Therefore I have contented myself with this bed for the night, which you had the discourteousness to disturb – mildly said. With this, my explanations have ended. Good night, gentlemen.’ And K turned himself over to the hearth.
‘Land surveyor?’ he still heard them ask hesitantly. Then, total quietness. But the young man pulled himself together and said to the innkeeper in a tone that was muffled enough to pose to K as a consideration regarding his sleep, and loud enough in order to be understandable for him: ‘I will register it by telephone.’ What, there was a telephone in this inn? They were excellently equipped! On the one side it surprised K, on the other he had expected it. Apparently the telephone was located almost directly above his head. In his drowsiness he had overlooked it. If the young man now had to telephone, K’s sleep would not benefit in the best case. It was only the question if K should let him telephone; he decided to let him do it. Then there was no longer any sense in it to do as if he was sleeping and he turned over so he was lying on his back again. He saw the peasants shyly move together to speak. The arrival of a land surveyor was nothing of a light nature. The kitchen door had opened; the powerful stature of the innkeeper’s wife filled the whole doorway. The innkeeper went to her on tip-toe in order to brief her and then started the telephone-conversation. The castellan was asleep, but one of the vice-castellans, a gentleman called Fritz, was there. The young man, who introduced himself as Schwarzer, told him how he had found K, a man in his thirties, ragged, sleeping peacefully on a bag of straw, with a midget rucksack for his pillow, a gnarled stick within his reach. It had of course seemed suspicious to him and as the innkeeper had clearly neglected his duty, it was his duty, Schwarzer’s, to get to the bottom of this case. The waking, the interrogation, the mandatory threat, the order to leave the territory, K had taken very ungraciously, as it seemed finally. Maybe rightly, because he asserted that he was a land surveyor, sent for by his Lordship. Of course it is at least a formal duty to verify this assertion, and therefore Schwarzer asked Herr Fritz to make inquiries in the central chancellery if there was really expected a land surveyor of this nature and to telephone immediately with the answer.

Then it was quiet. Fritz was making inquiries up there and here they waited for the answer. K remained as before, did not even turn over, did not appear to be curious, looked in front. Schwarzer’s story, in its mix of maliciousness and caution, gave him an image of the to a certain extent diplomatic education which even little people as Schwarzer disposed of easily. Also industriousness did not fail them there; the central chancellery had night duty and gave an answer apparently very swiftly, as Fritz phoned back already. This message seemed certainly very short, because immediately, Schwarzer threw the receiver down furiously. ‘I said it!’ he cried. ‘No trace of a lad surveyor; a mean, lying vagabond, probably even worse.’ For a moment, K thought that all – Schwarzer, the peasants, the innkeeper and his wife – would come down on him. In order to avoid at least the first onslaught, he holed himself up under his blanket. The telephone went off again and, as it appeared to K, exceedingly loudly. He slowly stuck his head forward again. Though it was improbable that it was about K again, all in the room froze and Schwarzer went back to the apparatus. He listened there to a longer explanation and then said quietly: ‘So, a mistake? That is really disagreeable. The chief clerk telephoned himself? Peculiar, peculiar. How shall I explain this to the land surveyor?’

K listened. So the castle had appointed him to land surveyor. That was on the one side unfavourable for him because it showed that they knew everything in the castle that was necessary; that they had considered the balance of power; and that they smilingly took up the fight. On the other side, it was advantageous to him, as it proved that, according to him, they underestimated him and that he would have more freedom than he had hoped before. And if they believed that, through this assuredly intellectually well thought out recognition of his function as land surveyor, they could keep him in continuous fear, they were wrong: it overwhelmed him a little, but that was all.

K waved aside Schwarzer who was coming forward bashfully; relocating to the innkeeper’s room, which they pressed him to, he refused, only accepting a nightcap from the innkeeper, from his wife a washing basin with soap and towel; he did not even have to ask that the room be cleared as all were rushing outside with averted faces so they could not be recognised by him in the morning. The lamp was extinguished and he had rest finally. He slept deeply; barely once, twice he was disturbed by scurrying rats until the morning.

After breakfast, which had to be paid for by the castle according to the innkeeper, like the whole of K’s care actually, he wanted to go into the village forthwith. But as the innkeeper - with whom he had only spoken the utmost necessary in view of the memory of his behaviour of the day before – with a quiet plea had kept on fussing round him, he pitied the latter and let him sit with him for a little while.

‘I don’t know the count yet,’ said K, ‘he pays good work well. Is that true? If one, like I, has to travel far from wife and child then one also likes to bring home something.’
‘Concerning that, the gentleman does not have to worry. One does not hear complaints of bad payments.’ ‘Well,‘ said K, ‚I do not belong to the shy and I can also tell a count my opinion, but to deal with his Lordship in peace is of course much better.’

The innkeeper was sitting across K, on the windowsill; he did not venture to seat himself more comfortably; he looked at K the whole time with large, brown, fearful eyes. Firstly he had thrust himself on K and now he looked as if he rather wanted to run away from him. Did he fear being interrogated by the count? Did he fear the unreliability of ‘the gentleman’ for whom he held K? K should distract him. He looked at the clock and said: ‘My subsidiaries will soon arrive. Will you be able to house them here?’
‘Certainly, Herr,’ said he, ‘they will not live with you in the castle?’
Did he so easily want to get rid of his guests and K especially, whom he categorically referred to the castle?
‘That is not settled yet,’ said K, ‘firstly I have to experience what kind of work they have for me. If I, for example, have to work down here, then it will be more common sense to live down here. I also fear that I will not like life in the castle. I always want to be free.’
‘You do not know the castle,’ the innkeeper said quietly.
‘Indeed,’ said K, ‘one should not judge too early. For the time being, I do not know anything more about the castle than that it can choose its right land surveyor there. Maybe there are other merits there.’ And he stood up to free the agitated and lip-biting innkeeper from him. It was not easy to win the confidence of this man.

While leaving, a dark portrait in a dark frame on the wall stood out to K. Already from his bed he had noticed it, but he had not been able to see the details of it due to the distance and he had believed that the actual painting had been taken out of its frame and only the back of it had stayed behind. However, it was a painting, as it appeared now; a half length portrait of a man in his fifties. He held his head so much down to his chest that one could scarcely see anything of his eyes. The high and heavy brow and the strong curled-in nose were apparently to blame for this. The full beard, pressed to the chin because of the position of the head, stuck out at the bottom. The left hand lay spread in the full hair, but could no longer lift it. ‘Who is that?’ asked K, ‘the count?’ K stood in front of the picture and did not look round to the innkeeper. ‘No,’ the latter said, ‘the castellan.’ – ‘A nice castellan you have in the castle, that is true,’ said K, ‘it is a shame that he has such an ill-bred son.’ – ‘No,’ the innkeeper said, drew K a little to him and whispered in his ear: ‘Schwarzer exaggerated yesterday. His father is only an vice-castellan, even one of the last.’ At this moment the innkeeper had something of a child. ‘The rascal!’ said K smiling, but the innkeeper did not join him, but said: ‘His father is also powerful.’ – ‘Come on!’ said K, ‘You consider everyone powerful. Me too?’ – ‘You,’ said he shyly but seriously: ‘I do not consider powerful.’ – ‘So you can observe very well,’ said K, ‘powerful I am, in confidence, not, really not. And I respect, because of that, the powerful not less than you. I am only not so candid as you are and I will not always concede to that.’ And K patted the innkeeper on the cheek to comfort him and to incline him more. Now he at least smiled a little. He was really a boy with his soft, almost beardless face. How did he end up with his broad, elderly wife, whom one could see busy in the kitchen next-door behind a window with her elbows out. But K did not want to penetrate into him further; he did not want to chase the finally accomplished smile away. So he gave him only a nod to open the door and went out into the beautiful winter morning.

He saw the castle on the mount clearly outlined in the clear air and made clearer by the snow, that copied all forms everywhere under its fine layer. There seemed to be a lot less snow on the mount than here in the village, where K didn’t move forward any easier than yesterday on the main road. Here, the snow reached up to the windows of the cottages and weighed heavily on the low roofs, but up on the mount everything protruded freely and lightly, or at least it seemed so from here.

On the whole, the castle, how it showed itself here from afar, answered K’s expectations. It was not an old knight’s castle, nor a new fancy building, but a extensive construction that consisted of few two-storey buildings, but of many low buildings closely together; if one didn’t know that it was a castle, one could have held it for a city. Only one tower K saw; if it belonged to a building for private use or to a church, was not recognisable. Swarms of crows encircled it.

K went on with his eyes directed to the castle. There was nothing else that worried him. But as he came closer, the castle disappointed him. It was only a real miserable little town, consisting of village cottages, only distinguished maybe by all its buildings being built out of stone; but the finish had already long been dropped and the stone seemed to be crumbling. Quickly, K remembered his home town; it resembled this alleged castle scarcely. If it had been a priority for K to go and see it, it would have been a shame of the long walk and it would have been more prudent to go and visit his old home town, where he hadn’t been for such a long time now. And he compared in thought the church tower of his home with the tower there. The tower there, certainly without hesitation getting younger as its height increased, with a wide roof finished with red tiles, a mundane building – what can we build otherwise? – but with a higher purpose than the lower mass of houses and with a clearer expression than the dreary working day had for him. The tower here, – it was the only visible one – the tower of a private house as it appeared to be, maybe of the main castle, was a simple round building, partly mercifully disguised by ivy, with little windows which now glistened in the sun – it had something insane – and a balcony-like termination, which battlements indented into the blue sky insecurely, irregularly, crumbly, as if drawn by a fearful or unreliable children’s hand. It was as if a doleful inhabitant who had rightfully locked himself in the remotest room, had broken through the roof and had climbed upon it in order to show himself the world. Again, K stood still as if he had more power of judgment then, but he was disturbed. Behind the village church, where he had stood still – it was actually only a chapel, barn-like extended, in order to be able to receive the community -, was the school.

A low, long building, strangely unifying the temporary and the old, lay behind a fenced garden which was now a field of snow. The children were coming out with their teacher. In a close pile they encircled him, all eyes were directed towards him, continuously they chattered from all sides. K could not understand one word of their fast speech. The teacher, a young, small, narrow-shouldered person, but without it being ridiculous, very erect, had seen K already from afar. Indeed, K was the only person, apart from the first’s group, in the wider neighbourhood. K, as stranger, greeted firstly an imperious little man: ‘Good day, Herr Teacher,’ he said.

From the one moment to the next; the children stopped talking. This sudden silence as preparation for his words might well have pleased the teacher. ‘You are looking at the castle?’ he asked meekly, like K expected, but in a tone as if he did not approve of what K was doing. ‘Yes,’ said K, ‘I am a stranger here. I have only been in the village since yesterday evening.’ – ‘Does the castle not please you?’ asked the teacher quickly. ‘What?‘ asked K again, a little surprised, and repeated in a milder form the question: ‘if the castle pleases me? Why do you suppose that it does not?’
‘It hasn’t pleased any stranger,’ said the teacher. In order not to say anything unwelcome, K turned the conversation and asked: ‘You do know the count?’ – ‘No,’ said the teacher and wanted to turn away. K, though, did not withdraw and asked again: ‘What? You do not know the count?’ - ‘Why should I know him?’ said the teacher quietly and then continued loudly in French: ‘Please, consider the presence of innocent children.’ K then felt the right to ask: ‘Could I, Herr Teacher, please visit you? I am staying for a while and I feel a little lost; I don’t belong to the peasants and probably neither in the castle.’ – ‘There is not a great difference between the castle and the peasants,’ said the teacher. ‘That is possible, ‘said K, ‘but it does not change anything to my position. Could I visit you some time?’ – ‘I live in the Schwanengasse with the butcher.’ It was nevertheless more of a declaration than an invite, but K said: ‘Good. I will come.’ The teacher nodded and went on with the pile of children who burst out in screams. They soon disappeared in a sudden occurring alley.

However, K was puzzled and didn’t notice them. The conversation had increased his absentmindedness. For the first time since his arrival he felt real fatigue. The long way to the village did not seem to have affected him in any way, originally. How he had walked through the days, peacefully, step after step! – But now the consequences of this enormous effort showed after all, a little at the wrong time certainly. It delayed him in making new acquaintances, and every new acquaintance only strengthened the fatigue. If he were to force himself in his current state to prolong his walk at least to the entry of the castle, he had done more than enough.
So he went forwards again, but it was a long way. The street, namely the main street of the village, did not lead to the castle-mount; it led only to the neighbourhood of it, but then it, as if with that goal, curved and if it did not lead away from the castle-mount, it also didn’t bring one closer to it. K always expected that he would now finally turn into the street that led up to the castle, and only because he expected that, he went on; evidently because of his fatigue, he hesitated to leave the street, he also marvelled at the length of the village that did not seem to end. Again and again, the little houses and the icy window panes and snow and lack of people – finally he tore himself from this gripping street. A little alley took him in. Even deeper snow. Pulling his sinking feet out of it was laborious; he broke into sweat; suddenly he stood still and could go no further.

He was not totally alone. Right and left were peasant huts. He made a snowball and threw it against a window. Immediately, the door opened – the first door that opened in the whole time his walk had lasted – and an old peasant, in a brown fur jacket, his head inclined to the side, friendly and weak, stood there. ‘Could I come in for a while?’ said K, ‘I am very tired.’ He didn’t hear at all what the old man was saying, he gratefully accepted that a board was shoved to him and that he was rescued immediately from the snow; in a few paces he stood in the room.

A big room in dusk. One who came from outside could at first not see. K staggered over a washing tub, a women’s hand held him back. From a little corner came a lot of crying. From another corner came smoke that made the dusk night. K stood as if in clouds. ‘He is surely drunk,’ someone said. ‚Who are you?‘ cried a gentlemanly voice and directed towards the old man: ‘Why have you let him in? Can one let everything in that lurks in the alley?’ – ‘I am the count’s land surveyor,’ said K, and looked to answer to the still invisible people. ‘Oh, it is the land surveyor,’ said a female voice and then followed total silence. ‘You know me?’ asked K. ‘Certainly,’ said the same voice shortly. That they knew K, was apparently no good thing.
Finally the smoke dispersed a little and K could slowly orient himself. It seemed to be a general washing day. In the vicinity of the door there was washing being done. The smoke had come from the other corner, though, where in a great wooden basin, so big that K had never seen one like it – it had the diameter of about two beds – in steaming water, two men were bathing. But even more surprising without one actually knowing where the surprise In it was, was the right corner. From a large cavity, the only one in the back wall of the room, came, from the courtyard, a pale snow-light that gave the dress of a woman who was almost lying tiredly in an armchair, a shine as of silk. She was feeding a child at her breast. Around her played a few children, peasant children as it looked, she though did not seem to belong to them. Certainly, disease and fatigue also affect peasants.
‘Sit down!’ said one of the men, with a full beard, a walrus moustache besides under which he kept his mouth open, wheezing. It was strange how he indicated to K with his hand over the edge of the pail a chest whereby he sprayed K’s entire face with warm water. On the same chest already sat the old man, staring in front. He had let K in; K was grateful that he could finally sit himself down. Now no-one tended to him anymore. The woman by the washing basin, blonde, blooming with youth, sang quietly while working; the men in the bath kicked and turned themselves; the children wanted to come closer to them, but were driven back by powerful splashes of water that also didn’t spare K; the woman in the armchair lay there as if lifeless, not once she looked down at the child at her breast, but she looked indistinctly upwards.

K must have looked very long at her, that unchanging, beautiful, sad image; but then he must have fallen asleep as he was rudely awakened by a loud voice. His head was lying on the old man’s shoulder next to him. The men had finished their bath - where now the children plaid under supervision of the blonde woman - and stood fully clothed in front of him. It seemed that the screamish full-beard was the lesser of the two. The other was namely not taller than the full-bearded one and with a lot less beard; was a quiet, slow-thinking man of large build – with also a large face -, his head he held low. ‘Herr Land Surveyor,’ he said, ‘you cannot stay here. Please, excuse the uncourteousness.’ – ‘I did not want to stay either,’ K said, ‘only take a little rest. That has happened and now, I am going.’ – ‘You must wonder about the little hospitality,’ said the man, ‘but hospitality is not a virtue with us. We do not need guests.’ A little freshened by sleep, a little better hearing than before, K rejoiced over the open words. He moved more freely, he lent on his walking stick here and there, approached the woman in the armchair, and was by the way the tallest in the room body-wise.

‘Certainly,’ said K, ‘why would you need any guests. But here and there one surely needs one, for example, me the land surveyor.’ – ‘I don’t know that,’ said the man slowly, ‘if they have sent for you, then they must need you probably. But that is an exception. We, though, we little people, keep to the norm, you cannot hold that against us.’ – ‘No no,’ said K, ‘I only have to thank you, you and everyone here.’ And unexpectedly for everyone, K turned round formally in one jump and stood in front of the woman. With tired, blue eyes, she looked at K; a silky, transparent veil hung to the middle of her brow; the infant slept at her breast. ‘Who are you?’ asked K – it was not clear if the contemptibility was meant for her own answer or for K. She said: ‘A girl from the castle.’

All this had only lasted a moment. Already, K had to the left and the right of him a man and was dragged in silence to the door, as if there were no other means of understanding. The old man rejoiced in something and applauded. Also the washer woman laughed with the children who suddenly burst out.
But K was quickly in the street again. The men kept an eye on him from the threshold. It was snowing again although it seemed a little brighter. The full-beard cried impatiently: ‘Where do you want to go? This here leads up to the castle, there to the village.’ K didn’t answer, but to the other one who looked more affable despite his superiority he said: ‘Who are you all? Whom have I to thank for this stopover?’ – ‘I am Leather-master Lasemann,’ was the answer, ‘but you have no-one to thank.’ – ‘Good,’ said K, ‘maybe we will meet again.’ – ‘I don’t think so,’ said the man. At this moment, the full-beard cried with raised hand: ‘Good day, Artur, good day, Jeremias!’ K turned round. There were after all other people in this village and street! From the direction of the castle came two young men of middle-height, both very slim, in figure-hugging clothes, also in the face they resembled each other much. The colour of their faces was a dark brown on which a goatee beard of a surprising black still stood out. They went astonishingly fast regarding the conditions of the street. The experience of their slim legs seemed important. ‘What is the matter?’ cried the full-beard. One could only talk with them screaming, so fast they went and they did not stop. ‘Business!’ they cried back laughing. ‘Where?’ – ‘In the inn!’ – ‘I am also going there!’ cried K suddenly above the others. He had a big longing to be taken by the two; their acquaintance seemed not very profitable to him, but good, cheering companions they clearly were. They heard K’s words, though only nodded and went already in front.

K was still standing in the snow, had little mind to lift his foot out of the snow in order to sink a little more in it; the leather-master and his companion, contented with having thrown K out finally, were slowly moving inside the house, through the little open door, still looking at K. And K was alone with the enclosing snow. ‘This would be occasion for a little hesitation,’ shot through his mind, ‘if I wasn’t standing here by accident.’

The little window of the left cottage opened; it had looked deep blue when it was closed, maybe the reflection of the snow, and it was so small that, If it was now open, it couldn’t show the whole face of the one looking out, but only the eyes: old, brown eyes. ‘There he is,’ heard K, a tremulous female voice. ‘It is the land surveyor,’ said a man’s voice. Then the man came to the window and asked not unfriendly, but still so as if it was down to him that everything on the street before his house was in order: ‘Who are you waiting for?’ – ‘For a sleigh that will take me,’ said K. ‘No sleigh ever comes here,’ said the man, ‘there is no traffic here.’ – ‘But it is the street that leads to the castle, isn’t it,’ objected K. ‘Of course, but despite that,’ said the man with a certain rigour, ‘there is no traffic.’ Then both people fell silent, but apparently the man was thinking about something, because he kept the the window which wafted smoke, open. ‘It is a bad road,’ said K in order to provoke him.
But he only said: ‘Yes, for sure.’
After a little while he said: ‘If you want, I will take you with my sleigh.’ – ‘Yes, please,’ said K happily, ‘how much do you want for that?’ – ‘Nothing,’ said the man. K wondered very much about that. ‘You are the land surveyor, aren’t you?’ said the man explanatory, ‘and you belong to the castle. Where do you want to go, then?’ – ‘To the castle,’ said K quickly. ‘Then I will not take you,’ said the man immediately. ‘But I belong to the castle, don’t I,’ said K, repeating the man’s own words. ‘That is possible,’ said the man coolly. ‘Then, please take me to the inn,’ said K. ‘Good,’ said the man, ‘I will come immediately with the sleigh.’ The whole thing did not give an impression of special friendliness, but rather one of very selfish, fearful, almost pedantic ambition to get K away from the place in front of the house.

The door to the courtyard opened and a little sleigh for light loads, totally flat, without any seating place, pulled by a weak horse, appeared. Behind that, the man emerged: bent, weak, limping, with a skinny red huffing face that seemed especially small because of the woollen scarf that was twisted round his head. The man was obviously ill and only because he could do something to get K away, he had come out. K mentioned something like that, but the man dismissed it. K only learned that the driver was called Gerstäcker [(ref. to the writer Friedrich Gerstäcker)] and that he had taken this uncomfortable sleigh because it stood ready and that getting another would have cost too much time. ‘Sit down,’ said he and showed with his whip the rear of the sleigh. ‘I will sit next to you,’ said K. ‘I will go,’ said Gerstäcker. ‘Why?’ asked K. ‘I’ll go,’ repeated Gerstäcker and got a coughing fit which shook him about so much that he had to fix his legs firmly in the snow and had to hold on to the sleigh with his hands. K said nothing, sat down at the back of the sleigh; the coughing stopped slowly and they drove on.

The castle up there, already strangely dark, that K had hoped to reach that day, got further away. As if there was a sign needed for this temporary farewell, a bell struck, exhilarating; a bell that at least for one moment was able to lift the heart as if the completion of that which K insecurely longed for threatened him – because the sound was also painful. But soon, the large bell was silent and was superseded by a little weak monotone bell; maybe still in the castle, but maybe also already in the village. This tinkling was certainly better for the slow drive and pitiable but inexorable driver.
‘You,’ K cried suddenly – they were already in the neighbourhood of the church; the way to the inn not being very far anymore, K had to say something -, ‘I wonder very much, that you dare to bring me on your own responsibility. Are you allowed to do that, then?’ Gerstäcker did not pay any attention to it and walked on peacefully next to the horse. ‘Hey!’ cried K, made some snow into a ball and threw it against Gerstäcker’s ear. Now the latter stood still and turned round; when K saw, so closely – the sleigh had still slid a little further -, this bent, to a certain extent abused shape, the red, tired narrow face with somehow several cheeks, the one flat, the other sunken, the open wheezing mouth in which there were only a few single teeth, K had to repeat out of pity what he had said before out of wickedness: ‘If Gerstäcker would not be punished for transporting K.’ - ‘What do you want,’ asked Gerstäcker uncomprehending, though not expecting any further explanation; he called the horse and walked on.

(First Chapter, Das Schloss/The Castle, Franz Kafka, own translation)

03-22-2010, 01:50 PM
I think either he read some version or Kafka fragment that latter Kafka worked as a romance (of either Amerika or The Castle) or he mixed both works in his OP. Unless we all think "K" is a good jewish name :D

03-22-2010, 02:06 PM
Could be that he indeed mixed up two things... 'K' is the only thing that doesn't fit though...

03-22-2010, 07:27 PM
Hey! thank you Kiki and everyone so much for your help. :banana:

I dont know enough german to read this - where is the english text from? did you translate this?

I'm afraid though it's not this piece. he could have taken some ideas/converstaions from the fragment i read into the castle, but i couldnt find anything that was more than just similar.

actually, the piece i read couldnt be a part of a novel, it was short. i most probably read it in english, in one of these green schoken aditions that was published in new york and include various pieces of his work. but maybe i should give up on this, because i've already asked so many people and no one seem to know this, and i'm strating to doubt my own memory (: a bit kafkaesque...

but ill find it one day and bring it here to show you, its a great piece really.

thank you again!

03-23-2010, 12:06 AM
Kafka wrote many short tales, fragments, aphorisms, etc... and considering that you suspect the work in question was one such fragment I wonder why everyone is focusing upon the novels: Amerika, The Trial, The Castle...? While I am a great admirer of Kafka I wouldn't by any stretch of the imagination consider myself a Kafka "expert". Nevertheless, I gave a quite perusal of my volume of short stories and could find nothing to match your tale. Of course it may be a fragment from Parable and Paradoxes, or even his diaries and notebooks (I have both the Blue Octavo Notebooks and The Diaries and I'll give a perusal... but certainly, I can't promise anything.) Let us know if you solve the puzzle.

03-23-2010, 06:20 PM
thanks a lot.

your right - most chances it's either a fragment from some fragment volume, or from his late (not early, it must be 1914 or later). it cannot be the Parables which ive never read.

of course, i'll let you know if it find anything. it must show up again - ive never got rid of any of his books.

03-23-2010, 08:06 PM
The thing is that the romances are actually fragments put together by Max Brody, not exactly by Kafka. And Kafka was basically a short story writers that once or while, extended an argument in a novel. So, many of his fragments were also possible part of the novels (like the Before the Law and Process) and sometimes the editions change the titles, perhaps even the organization, so it is really hard.
It do not seems like his personal pages from the Diary. He was very dry and direct, very realist there. I would not place my bets on it.

03-24-2010, 04:34 AM
Hey! thank you Kiki and everyone so much for your help. :banana:

I dont know enough german to read this - where is the english text from? did you translate this?

I'm afraid though it's not this piece. he could have taken some ideas/converstaions from the fragment i read into the castle, but i couldnt find anything that was more than just similar.

Own translation. I couldn't find anything in English, though it must exist.

Well, you could have mixed two things up, though... Or read a few excerpts. No problem.

Translating it, I discovered how 'easy' Kafka's language is. Not his stuff behind it, but the language is quite straightforward. And I discovered how direct and sad it really is in English, so I learned. Glad to have done it. I really want to read it in German now.

Glad I could help :hurray:, not glad you cannot find the one you're looking for :(.

But, yeah, when you finally found it, come back here and we'll have a laugh that we couldn't remember! :lol:

03-25-2010, 04:22 PM
Kiki: thats great translation! really fluent. when did you translate this? hope you didnt do this for me? :bigear:

i could have mixed up the name or something, but im sure i wasnt confused about the story itself: man getting lost in the country, man and woman who are being unkind to him, etc... the man wrote it somewhere! id bet my best pair of underwear on this one.

his language is indeed rather easy. when i begun studying german i started with his "erzaelungen" stories, which was wonderful to start with. its funny how some of his translators (you can see this a lot in hebrew, specially the older ones) translate him into a very "high" language, as though if hes considered genious, he must have written this way. is german your first language? what do you mean about being direct and sad in english? more than in german?

Camilo: well i'm really in trouble, your right. about the diaries: the unfinished fragments which ive read *inside* the diaries, when he used the diaries as a place for starting things, writing experiments - i'm not talking about the "diarish" diary - they all dont seem to me more "dry" than his other writing. i really liked the fragments ive found in there, and didnt find them different from the other things he wrote in the same time or even published - depends on the period of the entry, of course.

03-25-2010, 05:57 PM
Kiki: thats great translation! really fluent. when did you translate this? hope you didnt do this for me? :bigear:

i could have mixed up the name or something, but im sure i wasnt confused about the story itself: man getting lost in the country, man and woman who are being unkind to him, etc... the man wrote it somewhere! id bet my best pair of underwear on this one.

his language is indeed rather easy. when i begun studying german i started with his "erzaelungen" stories, which was wonderful to start with. its funny how some of his translators (you can see this a lot in hebrew, specially the older ones) translate him into a very "high" language, as though if hes considered genious, he must have written this way. is german your first language? what do you mean about being direct and sad in english? more than in german?

I kind of did do it especially for you, but I enjoy that kind of thing and have the time for it. I might do the whole thing now and send it off to Gutenberg, if they want it. I have the ambition to become a translator but someone needs to give you a chance. Without qualification, though, one gets nowhere. So, if Gutenberg wants it (copyright free!) then I at least have my name on it. :)

But I was really chuffed with what you said about that text. It really boosts my confidence :hurray:.

German is not my first language. It is Dutch. Though I learned German in school (from 15 to 18 years of age) and then I went to study it in uni (I dropped out though). Now, I live in Germany, which has unfortunately not made a great big difference my ability :(. I am waiting until I have children, then there is more to talk with Germans as I'll have to get out more :D.

As my language is Dutch, normal German seems a little archaic to me, like what you said about Hebrew probably. It sounds like an older and more poetic version of my language and a lot nicer than a German would probably consider Kafka's language. Though very understandable. Translating it, I really felt how direct and modern his German was as my English is WAY better than my German.

I recently read Die Verwandlung (in German) and it struck me how dry, businesslike his language was. Reading over my translation for this, I realised it even more. I am not sure why they would translate him in an archaic manner...

03-26-2010, 04:08 AM

It somehow reminded me of The Stoker, but that's probably not what you're looking for.

03-26-2010, 03:01 PM
kiki - it was definitely a good job - i thought it was taken from somewhere. it was also really quick for a rather long thing. did you try translating anything else of him? maybe you should try something that wasnt yet translated - it there such a thing? i was surprised to see that in hebrew, though its a language that likes him, many of his good things (not his novels, but many good fragments) cant be found.
i dropped out from german as well - but thats only cause i dropped out of the whole thing - otherways id keep my german!

satan - whats 'the stoker'? where can it be found?

and the good news - with a bit of help from a friend IVE FOUND IT! its from the late volume of the diaries. :party:

here in german: http://www.kafka.org/index.php?h9

(you can search it, it begins: "Ich kam einmal im Sommer gegen Abend in ein Dorf in dem ich noch nie gewesen war...")

here in english:


One summer, towards evening, I arrived in a village where I had never been before. It struck me how broad and open were the paths. Everywhere one saw tall old trees in front of the farmhouses. It had been raining, the air was fresh, everything pleased me. I tried to indicate this by the manner in which I greeted the people standing in front of the gates; their replies were friendly even if somewhat aloof. I thought it would be nice to spend the night here if I could find an inn.

I was just walking past the high ivy-covered wall of a farm when a small door opened in the wall, three faces peered out, vanished, and the door closed again. "Strange," I said aloud, turning to one side as if I had someone with me. And, as if to embarrass me, there in fact stood a tall man next to me with neither hat nor coat, wearing a black knitted vest and smoking a pipe. I quickly recovered myself and said, as though I had already known that he was there: "The door! Did you see the way that little door opened?" "Yes," the man said, "but what's strange in that? It was the tenant farmer's children. They heard your footsteps and looked out to see who was walking by here so late in the evening." "The explanation is a simple one, of course," I said with a smile. things to seem queer to a stranger. Thank you." And I went on. "It's easy for

But the man followed me. I wasn't really surprised by that, the man could be going the same way; yet there was no reason for us to walk one behind the other and not side by side. I turned and said, "Is this the right way to the inn?" The man stopped and said, "We don't have an inn, or rather we have one but it can't be lived in. It belongs to the community and, years ago now, after no one had applied for the management of it, it was turned over to an old cripple whom the community already had to provide for. With his wife he now manages the inn, but in such a way that you can hardly pass by the door, the smell coming out of it is so strong. The floor of the parlor is slippery with dirt. A wretched way of doing things, a disgrace to the village, a disgrace to the community." I wanted to contradict the man; his appearance provoked me to it, this thin face with yellowish, leathery, bony cheeks and black wrinkles spreading over all of it at every movement of his jaws. "Well," I said, expressing no further surprise at this state of affairs, and then went on: "I'll stop there anyway, since I have made up my mind to spend the night here." "Very well," the man quickly said, "but this is the path you must take to reach the inn," and he pointed in the direction I had come from. "Walk to the next corner and then turn right. You'll see the inn sign at once. That's it." I thanked him for the information and now walked past him again while he regarded me very closely. I had no way of guarding against the possibility that he had given me wrong directions, but was determined not to be put out of countenance either by his forcing me to march past him now, or by the fact that he had with such remarkable abruptness abandoned his attempts to warn me against the inn. Somebody else could direct me to the inn as well, and if it were dirty, why then for once I would simply sleep in dirt, if only to satisfy my stubbornness. Moreover, I did not have much of a choice; it was already dark, the roads were muddy from the rain, and it was a long way to the next village. By now the man was behind me and I intended not to trouble myself with him any further when I heard a woman's voice speak to him. I turned. Out of the darkness under a group of plane trees stepped a tall, erect woman. Her skirts shone a yellowish-brown color, over her head and shoulders was a black coarse-knit shawl. "Come home now, won't you?" she said to the man; "why aren't you coming?" "I'm coming," he said; "only wait a little while. I want to see what that man is going to do. He's a stranger. He's hanging around here for no reason at all. Look at him." He spoke of me as if I were deaf or did not understand his language. Now to be sure it did not much matter to me what he said, but it would naturally be unpleasant for me were he to spread false reports about me in the village, no matter of what kind. For this reason I said to the woman: "I'm looking for the inn, that's all. Your husband has no right to speak of me that way and perhaps give you a wrong impression of me." But the woman hardly looked at me and went over to her husband (I had been correct in thinking him her husband; there was such a direct, self-evident relationship between the two), and put her hand on his shoulder: "If there is anything you want, speak to my husband, not to me." "But I don't want anything," I said, irritated by the manner in which I was being treated; "I mind my business, you mind yours. That's all I ask." The woman tossed her head; that much I was able to make out in the dark, but not the expression in her eyes. Apparently she wanted to say something in reply, but her husband said, "Keep still!" and she was silent. Our encounter now seemed definitely at an end; I turned, about to go on, when someone called out, "Sir!" It was probably addressed to me. For a moment I could not tell where the voice came from, but then I saw a young man sitting above me on the farmyard wall, his legs dangling down and knees bumping together, who insolently said to me: "I have just heard that you want to spend the night in the village. You won't find liveable quarters anywhere except here on this farm." "On this farm?" I asked, and involuntarily"I was furious about it later"cast a questioning glance at the man and wife, who still stood there pressed against each other watching me. "That's right," he said, with the same arrogance in his reply that there was in all his behavior. �Are there beds to be had here?� I asked again, to make sure and to force the man back into his role of landlord. �Yes,� he said, already averting his glance from me a little, �beds for the night are furnished here, not to everyone, but only to those to whom they are offered.� �I accept,� I said, �but will naturally pay for the bed, just as I would at the inn.� �Please,� said the man, who had already been looking over my head for a long time, �we shall not take advantage of you.� He sat above like a master, I stood down below like a petty servant; I had a great desire to stir him up a little by throwing a stone up at him. Instead I said, �Then please open the door for me.� �It's not locked,� he said. �It's not locked,� I grumbled in reply, almost without knowing it, opened the door, and walked in. I happened to look up at the top of the wall immediately afterwards; the man was no longer there, in spite of its height he had apparently jumped down from the wall and was perhaps discussing something with the man and wife. Let them discuss it, what could happen to me, a young man with barely three gulden in cash and the rest of whose property consisted of not much more than a clean shirt in his rucksack and a revolver in his trouser pocket. Besides, the people did not look at all as if they would rob anyone. But what else could they want of me? It was the usual sort of neglected garden found on large farms, though the solid stone wall would have led one to expect more. In the tall grass, at regular intervals, stood cherry trees with fallen blossoms. In the distance one could see the farmhouse, a one-story rambling structure. It was already growing quite dark; I was a late guest; if the man on the wall had lied to me in any way, I might find myself in an unpleasant situation. On my way to the house I met no one, but when a few steps away from the house I saw, in the room into which the open door gave, two tall old people side by side, a man and wife their faces towards thc door, eating some sort of porridge out of a bowl. I could not make anything out very clearly in the darkness but now and then something on the man's coat sparkled like gold, it was probably his buttons or perhaps his watch chain. I greeted them and then said, not crossing the threshold for the moment: �I happened to be looking in the village for a place to spend the night when a young man sitting on your garden wall told me it was possible to rent a room for the night here on the farm.� The two old people had put their spoons into the porridge, leaned back on their bench, and looked at me in silence. There was none too great hospitality in their demeanor. I therefore added, �I hope the information given me was correct and that I haven't needlessly disturbed you.� I said this very loudly, for they might perhaps have been hard of hearing. �Come nearer,� said the man after a little pause. I obeyed him only because he was so old, otherwise I should naturally have had to insist that he give a direct answer to my direct question. At any rate, as I entered I said, �If putting me up causes you even the slightest difficulty, feel free to tell me so; I don't absolutely insist on it. I can go to the inn, it wouldn't matter to me at all.� �He talks so much,� the woman said in a low voice. It could only have been intended as an insult, thus it was with insults that they met my courtesy; yet she was an old woman, I could not say anything in my defense. And my very defenselessness was perhaps the reason why this remark to which I dared not retort had so much greater an effect on me than it deserved. I felt there was some justification for a reproach of some sort, not because I had talked too much, for as a matter of fact I had said only what was absolutely necessary, but because of other reasons that touched my existence very closely. I said nothing further, insisted on no reply, saw a bench in a dark corner near by, walked over, and sat down. The old couple resumed their eating, a girl came in from the next room and placed a lighted candle on the table. Now one saw even less than before, everything merged in the darkness, only the tiny flame flickered above the slightly bowed heads of the two old people. Several children came running in from the garden, one fell headlong and cried, the others stopped running and now stood dispersed about the room; the old man said, �Go to sleep, children.� They gathered in a group at once, the one who had been crying was only sobbing now, one boy near me plucked at my coat as if he meant that I was to come along; since I wanted to go to sleep too, I got up and, adult though I was, went silently from the room in the midst of the children as they loudly chorused good night. The friendly little boy took me by the hand and made it easier for me to find my way in the dark. Very soon we came to a ladder, climbed up it, and were in the attic. Through a small open skylight in the roof one could just then see the thin crescent of the moon; it was delightful to step under the skylight�my head almost reached up to it�and to breathe the mild yet cool air. Straw was piled on the floor against one wall; there was enough room for me to sleep too. The children�there were two boys and three girls�kept laughing while they undressed; I had thrown myself down in my clothes on the straw, I was among strangers, after all, and they were under no obligation to take me in. For a little while, propped up on my elbows, I watched the half-naked children playing in a corner. But then I felt so tired that I put my head on my rucksack, stretched out my arms, let my eyes travel along the roof beams a while longer, and fell asleep. In my first sleep I thought I could still hear one boy shout, �Watch out, he's coming!� whereupon the noise of the hurried tripping of the children running to their beds penetrated my already receding consciousness. I had surely slept only a very short time, for when I awoke the moonlight still fell almost unchanged through the window on the same part of the floor. I did not know why I had awakened�my sleep had been dreamless and deep. Then near me, at about the height of my ear, I saw a very small bushy dog, one of those repulsive little lap dogs with disproportionately large heads encircled by curly hair, whose eyes and muzzle are loosely set into their heads like ornaments made out of some kind of lifeless horny substance. What was a city dog like this doing in the village! What was it that made it roam the house at night? Why did it stand next to my ear? I hissed at it to make it go away; perhaps it was the children's pet and had simply strayed to my side. It was frightened by my hissing but did not run away, only turned around, then stood there on its crooked little legs and I could see its stunted (especially by contrast with its large head) little body. Since it continued to stand there quietly, I tried to go back to sleep, but could not; over and over again in the space immediately before my closed eyes I could see the dog rocking back and forth with its protruding eyes. It was unbearable, I could not stand the animal near me; I rose and picked it up in my arms to carry it outside. But though it had been apathetic until then, it now began to defend itself and tried to seize me with its claws. Thus I was forced to hold its little paws fast too�an easy matter, of course; I was able to hold all four in one hand. �So, my pet,� I said to the excited little head with its trembling curls, and went into the dark with it, looking for the door. Only now did it strike me how silent the little dog was, it neither barked nor squeaked, though I could feel its blood pounding wildly through its arteries. After a few steps�the dog had claimed all my attention and made me careless�greatly to my annoyance, I stumbled over one of the sleeping children. It was now very dark in the attic, only a little light still came through the skylight. The child sighed, I stood still for a moment, dared not move even my toe away lest any change waken the child still more. It was too late; suddenly, all around me, I saw the children rising up in their white shifts as though by agreement, as though on command. It was not my fault; I had made only one child wake up, though it had not really been an awakening at all, only a slight disturbance that a child should have easily slept through. But now they were awake. �What do you want, children?� I asked. �Go back to sleep.� �You're carrying something,� one of the boys said, and all five children searched my person. �Yes,� I said; I had nothing to hide, if the children wanted to take the dog out, so much the better. �I'm taking this dog outside. It was keeping me from sleeping. Do you know whose it is?� �Mrs. Cruster's,� at least that's what I thought I made of their confused, indistinct drowsy shouts which were intended not for me but only for each other. �Who is Mrs. Cruster?� I asked, but got no further answer from the excited children. One of them took the dog, which had now become entirely still, from my arm and hurried away with it; the rest followed. I did not want to remain here alone, also my sleepiness had left me by now; for a moment I hesitated, it seemed to me that I was meddling too much in the affairs of this house where no one had shown any great confidence in me; but finally I ran after the children. I heard the pattering of their feet a short distance ahead of me, but often stumbled in the pitch darkness on the unfamiliar way and once even bumped my head painfully against the wall. We came into the room in which I had first met the old people; it was empty, through the door that was still standing open one could see the moonlit garden. �Go outside,� I said to myself, �the night is warm and bright, you can continue your journey or even spend the night in the open. After all, it is so ridiculous to run about after the children here.� But I ran nevertheless; I still had a hat, stick, and rucksack up in the attic. But how the children ran! With their shifts flying they leaped through the moonlit room in two bounds, as I distinctly saw. It occurred to me that I was giving adequate thanks for the lack of hospitality shown me in this house by frightening the children, causing a race through the house and myself making a great din instead of sleeping (the sound of the children's bare feet could hardly be heard above the tread of my heavy boots)�and I had not the faintest notion of what would come of all this.

Suddenly a bright light appeared. In front of us, in a room with several windows opened wide, a delicate-looking woman sat at a table writing by the light of a tall, splendid table lamp. �Children!� she called out in astonishment; she hadn't seen me yet, I stayed back in the shadow outside the door. The children put the dog on the table; they obviously loved the woman very much, kept trying to look into her eyes, one girl seized her hand and caressed it; she made no objection, was scarcely aware of it. The dog stood before her on the sheet of letter paper on which she had just been writing and stretched out its quivering little tongue toward her, the tongue could be plainly seen a short distance in front of the lampshade. The children now begged to be allowed to remain and tried to wheedle the woman's consent. The woman was undecided, got up, stretched her arms, and pointed to the single bed and the hard floor. Thc children refused to give it any importance and lay down on the floor wherever they happened to be, to try it; for a while everything was quiet. Her hands folded in her lap, the woman looked down with a smile at the children. Now and then one raised its head, but when it saw the others still lying down, lay back again. One evening I returned home to my room from the office somewhat later than usual�an acquaintance had detained me below at the house entrance for a long time�opened the door (my thoughts were still engrossed by our conversation, which had consisted chiefly of gossip about people's social standing), hung my overcoat on the hook, and was about to cross over to the washstand when I heard a strange, spasmodic breathing. I looked up and, on top of the stove that stood deep in the gloom of a comer, saw something alive. Yellowish glittering eyes stared at me; large round woman's breasts rested on the shelf of the stove, on either side beneath the unrecognizable face; the creature seemed to consist entirely of a mass of soft white flesh; a thick yellowish tail hung down beside the stove, its tip ceaselessly passing back and forth over the cracks of the tiles. The first thing I did was to cross over with long strides and sunken head�nonsense! I kept repeating like a prayer�to the door that led to my landlady's rooms. Only later I realized that I had entered without knocking. Miss Hefter� It was about midnight. Five men held me, behind them a sixth had his hand raised to grab me. �Let go,� I cried, and whirled in a circle, making them all fall back. I felt some sort of law at work, had known that this last effort of mine would be successful, saw all the men reeling back with raised arms, realized that in a moment they would all throw themselves on me together, turned towards the house entrance�I was standing only a short distance from it�lifted the latch (it sprang open of itself, as it were, with extraordinary rapidity), and escaped up the dark stairs.

03-26-2010, 04:18 PM
Thanks for the compliment. I was thinking of Project Gutenberg, because they can only publish texts that are out of copyright. In that, they might have problems with certain translations of Kafka... It depends when his works were translated, but some of them are probably too late to be out of copyright.

The Stoker is called Der Heizer in German and it is a short story that also forms the first chapter of Amerika/Der Verschollene.

Look here for Wikipedia Deutsch:


There is also an English article on it.

I am glad you found it.

I'll certainly have a look for the German text (I prefer to read in the original).


03-26-2010, 04:24 PM
@kiki: Thanks for explaining that one.

@egtail: I read that story in a Kafka's short-story collection (Penguin paperback). Regrettably, I have yet to read Amerika.

03-26-2010, 04:40 PM
haha, sorry, I just came across that looking on Wikipedia...

06-29-2010, 03:41 PM
You might be reffering to the fragment without a name, found in Kafka's diaries, generally regarded as a sketch predating The Castle, with a similar theme. It is about someone who arrives at a village, but everyone is unfriendly and act in a strange way. It is, if i remember correctly, around 10 pages long.