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Schocken Books, Jul 2, 1996 - Fiction - 299 pages
17 Reviews
Kafka's first and funniest novel, Amerika tells the story of the young immigrant Karl Rossmann who, after an embarrassing sexual misadventure, finds himself "packed off to America" by his parents. Expected to redeem himself in this magical land of opportunity, young Karl is swept up instead in a whirlwind of dizzying reversals, strange escapades, and picaresque adventures.
Although Kafka never visited America, images of its vast landscape, dangers, and opportunities inspired this saga of the "golden land." Here is a startlingly modern, fantastic and visionary tale of America "as a place no one has yet seen, in a historical period that can't be identified," writes E. L. Doctorow in his new foreword. "Kafka made his first novel from his own mind's mythic elements," Doctorow explains, "and the research data that caught his eye were bent like light rays in a field of gravity."

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getAbstract Buchzusammenfasungen
Kafkas erster Roman: Amerika ist der unbekannteste von Kafkas Romanen und wohl auch der am wenigsten kafkaeske – der Begriff steht für die eigentümlich absurde, oft
irreale und bedrohliche Stimmung in Kafkas Werken. Amerika ist eher von einer leichten, hoffnungsvollen Erzählweise geprägt, durch die das Kafkaeske nur hin und wieder durchscheint: Ein 16-Jähriger wird von seinen Eltern nach Amerika geschickt und muss sich dort eine Existenz aufbauen. Durch sonderbare Zufälle findet er seinen reichen Onkel, der ihn fördert. Doch unglückliche Umstände, Ungerechtigkeiten und die eigene Gutgläubigkeit stürzen den Jungen in zunehmend ausweglose Situationen. Er wird zum Opfer und Spielball seiner Umwelt, und alle Anstrengungen, sein Schicksal in die Hand zu nehmen, bleiben erfolglos. Franz Kafkas Roman ist Fragment geblieben. Dennoch lohnt sich die Lektüre dieses ungewöhnlichen Werks.

Review: Amerika (فرانز كافكا الأعمال الكاملة #3)

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A parody of Horatio Alger, very much like Nathanael West's A Cool Million. A young boy arrives at Ellis Island, and must pull himself up by his bootstraps. His uncle, a US Senator, takes him in ... Read full review


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About the author (1996)

Franz Kafka was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, of middle-class Jewish parents. He apparently suffered a great deal of psychological pain at a young age at the hands of his domineering father. He took a law degree at the German University of Prague, then obtained a position in the workman's compensation division of the Austrian government. Always neurotic, insecure, and filled with a sense of inadequacy, Kafka's writing is a search for personal fulfillment and understanding. He wrote very slowly and deliberately, publishing very little in his lifetime. At his death he asked a close friend to burn his remaining manuscripts , but the friend refused the request. Instead the friend arranged for publication Kafka's longer stories, which have since brought him worldwide fame and have influenced many contemporary writers. Kafka's stories are nightmarish tales in which a helpless central character's every move is controlled by heartless, impersonal forces. An example is his 1938 psychological thriller, "The Metamorphosis." The story centers around a salesman named Gregor, who wakes up one morning and finds he is no longer a man but a giant insect. In today's increasingly complex, technological, and bureaucratic societies, Kafka has found a growing audience of sympathetic readers who understand the feeling of powerlessness Kafka's heroes experienced.

One of the foremost practitioners of modern Scottish letters, Edwin Muir was born to a farming family in the remote Orkney Islands. Forced to move with his family to the industrial city of Glasgow when he was 13, Muir held a series of minor and often grubby jobs before supporting himself mainly through journalism and occasional teaching. In 1919, he married Willa Anderson, and in his An Autobiography An Autobiography (1940) would describe their marriage as "the most fortunate event in my life." Willa Muir not only encouraged her husband to write but collaborated with him on numerous translations and other works. They were the first to translate the works of Franz Kafka (see Vol. 2) into English. Her own, moving autobiography, Belonging Belonging, is both an engrossing account and a minor masterpiece in its own right. In later life, Muir worked for the British Council, was warden of an adult educational college in Scotland, and served as visiting Charles Eliot Norton professor at Harvard University. Muir's poetry stands somewhat aloof from more flamboyant varieties of modernism, yet won the respect of both T. S. Eliot and W. B. Yeats. Often cast in seemingly traditional rhymes and meters, his verse depended on a vision, which Kathleen Raine described as "the perennial philosophy." Muir looked beneath surfaces of the world for archetypes of a primal and now-lost unity of the soul with the world. Sometimes he used the Scottish landscape and sometimes earlier mythology to convey his vision, as in One Foot in Eden One Foot in Eden (1956). Muir's criticism and translations are still worth reading as well. Among his critical works are Scott and ScotlandScott and Scotland (1936), Essays on Literature and Society (1949), and Structure of the NovelStructure of the Novel (1928). Though not known as a novelist, his most notable is The MarionetteThe Marionette (1927).

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