Talk:Franz Kafka

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Franz Kafka is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on July 3, 2013, and on July 3, 2019.
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August 27, 2012Good article nomineeListed
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Translation difficulties exaggerated, not unusual, irrelevant, let's deleteEdit

Absurd. When is translation easy? Whenever one has to deal with colloquialisms, or with poetry of any sort, when the meaning of words is vague or multifaceted, there's difficulty. We're here describing most of the world's literature. That's a universal translation problem, not something unique to "translating Kafka into English." Want something you can translate universally? I give you Euclid's "Elements."

As for the other specific "difficulty" mentioned here, the sentence construction with the verb at the end, there are at least two problems with this complaint. One is that, were it true, it wouldn't matter, because understanding a text isn't a matter of the psychological impact of your first reading of a sentence. As in, "oh, THAT's the verb, how that changes the experience of the story!" It might be true for inexperienced readers, middle schoolers for example, and it's certainly a problem with comedy because it messes up the timing, but that's it. The second problem (see my use of the subjunctive, above) is that it's not true. English is flexible enough for the verb to come at the end. See Shakespeare for a thousand examples. Yes, in the hands of most translators it will sound awkward, but that just means you need a better translation or a more intelligent reader. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) November 18, 2014

Kafka was not Bohemian, should be switched to “Jewish” as Jewishness was an important part of the human experience for KafkaEdit

Present in Kafka’s books were neither Bohemianism nor any ties to the land of Bohemia (if at all, his geographic ties were limited to the then-German city of Prague, where he was brought up). Kafka’s Jewishness was very important to him and caused him a great deal of angst present so much in his works.

I suggest to drop the misleading descriptor “Bohemian” and put “Jewish” in its place, as I don’t think this should be omitted in the case of Kafka. LordParsifal (talk) 14:06, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

I'm not sure why Bohemian is misleading as Prague was located in that Kingdom the time of this bith and it lasted to within six years of his death. The second paragraph makes it clear that he was born into a Jewish family. If there is a source which supports an emphasis on ethnicity then happy to look at a change but he was not a practicing Jew in adulthood not, from my limited reading, did he emphasise it in his works, although his interest in his heritage is clear and there is controversy in the third party sources both on that and Zionism. So I think the question falls back on policy and weight of third party sources. Policy says that "Ethnicity, religion, or sexuality should generally not be in the lead unless it is relevant to the subject's notability" so we have to establish the link to notability (which is not the same thing as influence in his writing). -----Snowded TALK 14:16, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
When the article was TFA on Kafka's 130th birthday, there was neither Jewish nor Bohemian, and perhaps we should return to that, because for him as highly influential on international 20th-century literature, none of the two matters. I'd not object to "in Prague" instead, much better known than Bohemian. I don't remember when "Bohemian" was introduced, - it should have been discussed then, but we missed it. --Gerda Arendt (talk) 14:45, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Prague is in part identified by Kafka so I have no objection to that change -----Snowded TALK 14:59, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I also have no objection to the change to Prague. As for his Jewishness, it's already explicitly stated in the first sentence of the second paragraph of the lead, so on top of violating MOS:ETHNICITY, it's not required (and bad writing) to put it in the first sentence. Jayjg (talk) 16:57, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
This may be entirely OR, but I would say Kafka's writing is part (even if a prominent one, to be sure!) of a rich Czecho-Polish surreal, bizarre, and partly satirical tradition that began centuries before him with Czech folk tales and still went on after him (other names from that tradition that come to mind would include Stanislaw Lem, Karel Zeman, Jan Švankmajer, Zdeněk Miler, Karel Capek, Roman Polanski, József Romhányi, Jindřich Polák, Jaroslav Hašek, Josef Nesvadba, Konrad Fiałkowski, Adam Wisniewski-Snerg, Jacek Yerka, and even Heinz Edelmann, production designer of Yellow Submarine (1968), was originally born in Prague).
Of course, that would be just one third of the kafkaesque experience that permeates his work, where the other two consisted out of a.) being Jewish within a predominantly anti-Semitic environment, and b.) having grown up in the highly kafkaesque empire of Austria-Hungary. Of course, his German prose is superb as another ingredient, but it's very hard to find any other Germanophone writers before Kafka that wrote like him. The closest equivalent in language *AND* motives would probably be Robert Walser (writer), while some remote resemblance in motives alone could probably be found in E. T. A. Hoffmann and Paul Scheerbart. Maybe, and that's a very big *MAYBE*, some very remote germs could be found in the irrationalism of Friedrich Hölderlin.
So, all in all, I guess Kafka was more of a perfect translator of a Czech and Jewish experience into German literature than actually coming from or contributing to a native German tradition. It's a fact which actually adds to the delightful strangeness of his stories, as he had next to no peers in German literature and is much closer to this age-old surreal and bizarre Czecho-Polish tradition. --2003:EF:1704:4E37:E9C1:113C:52E:DD9 (talk) 00:16, 20 October 2020 (UTC)

Inquisitorial versus AdversarialEdit

However, James Hawes argues many of Kafka's descriptions [...] are based on accurate and informed descriptions of German and Austrian criminal proceedings of the time, which were inquisitorial rather than adversarial.[204]

(in Critical interpretations)

This implies the criminal proceedings may be adversarial today. I am happy to report that the criminal courts in Germany still work inquisitorial to this day, looking for the truth.

Maybe the wording can be changed into, say ... descriptions of the inquisitorial German and Austrian criminal proceedings at the time or something similar? (talk) 20:59, 1 October 2020 (UTC)

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