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Collected Stories (Everyman's Library Classics) Hardcover – 16 Sep 1993

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"Because he gives us food we need, Kafka himself will not be forgotten as long as there are books to read and human beings to read them. He lives for us in his fragmentary and living [stories] more than he ever lived for himself in the bosom of his family, the Kafkas, and his city, Prague." -from the Introduction by Gabriel Josipovici

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
My absolute favorite. 30 Jun. 2000
By Marnie - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is my absolute favorite book by my favorite writer, Kafka. As a 17 year old student at a boarding high school, my writing teacher lent me her copy of "The Metamorphosis" (the Muir translation), which I instantly fell in love with. I immediately bought the Everyman's Library edition of Kafka's Collected Stories, which I believe to be the best collection of Kafka's stories out there. There is a controversial topic over which translator best captures Kafka's intent, this book uses the Muir translation in the first half which I believe, though it may not be as accurate as the Corngold translation, flows better languistically and is easier to read. The book, while visually pleasing, arranges the stories in the most sensible way: instead of placing the stories in alphabetical order, like the other books, it arranges them chronologically in the book they were originally in (e.g. stories that were published in "Meditations" are in the Meditations section and not scattered about). Choice stories include "In the Penal Colony," "Report to an Academy," "The Metamorphosis," and, the most heart-wrenching and simply beautiful, "Josephine the Singer or the Mouse Folk," which was arguably the last story Kafka wrote before his death in 1924. The book also contains a number of unpublished stories (make that 'unfinished,' as unfortunately many break off mid-text, contain a note of 'two pages missing...' and then continue on, leaving the reader a little baffled), which will content those who have read absolutely everything that Kafka published. While it does not contain "The Trial," "The Castle," or "Amerika" (although it has the first chapter, "The Stoker"), it contains, I'm pretty sure, everything else. The book also has a lengthy introduction, but I would advise the reader to first read the book and then the introduction, because the intro alludes to stories in the book and is confusing unless you have read the story that they're talking about. A short literary chronology is also included. This book is well worth the money and I highly recommend it. This is possibly the most beautiful collection of stories I have ever read.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
contents of this edition 24 Dec. 2012
By L.K Mas Mea - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To those wondering what this volume contains, it is the following:

Stories published in Kafka's lifetime:

Children on a Country Road
Unmasking a Confidence Trickster
The Sudden Walk
Excursion into the Mountains
Bachelor's Ill Luck
The Tradesman
Absent-minded Windo-gazing
The Way Home
On the Tram
Reflections for Gentlemen-jockeys
The Street Window
The Wish to be a Red Indian
The Trees

The New Advocate
A Country Doctor
Up in the Gallery
An Old Manuscript
Before the Law
Jackals and Arabs
A Visit to a Mine
The Next Village
An Imperial Message
The Cares of a Family Man
Eleven Sons
A Fratricide
A Dream
A Report to an Academy

The Bucket Rider (1921)

First Sorrow
A Little Woman
A Hunger Artist
Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse Folk

Stories Unpublished in Kafka's Lifetime
Description of a Struggle
Wedding Preparations in the Country
The Student
The Angel
The Village Schoolmaster (The Giant Mole)
Blumfeld, an Elderly Bachelor
The Hunter Gracchus
The Proclamation
The Bridge
The Great Wall of China
The Knock at the Manor Gate
An Ancient Sword
New Lamps
My Neighbor
A Crossbreed (A Sport)
A Splendid Beast
The Watchman
A Common Confusion
The Truth About Sancho Panza
The Silence of the Sirens
The City Coat of Arms
At Night
The Problem of Our Laws
The Conscription of Troops
The Test
The Vulture
The Helmsman
The Top
A Little Fable
A Chinese Puzzle
The Departure
Investigations of a Dog
The Married Couple
Give It Up!
On Parables
The Burrow
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
review about the book binding/translation (not the content) 19 Aug. 2009
By Not Available - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The sole purpose of this review is to inform about binding and translation, for everything else read other reviews!

There seems to be few collections of Franz Kafka, the one published by Schocken Books Inc in 1995 being the most notable. I initially was thinking about buying that book until i saw heavy complaint on poor binding...after a bit of reading few reviews i decided to go with this one instead and i'm glad i did. This book has no poor binding issue whatsoever. The binding and cover style is same as of some other collections by this publisher (Everyman's Library), say "The Plague, The Fall...", a collection on Albert Camus.

I noticed one of the reviewer here rated this book low for he believed it has poor translation, however i think different. I have read a few stories in the book and i'll say they were pretty readable...and English isn't my first language. Notice i'm not saying this is the best translation there is...quite frankly i don't know whether it is or not as i haven't read any other translation than this one.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Best (and Most Complete) Collection of Kafka's Short Stories 18 Jan. 2014
By Matilda Zenia-zara - Published on
Format: Hardcover
When I was about sixteen or seventeen my father bought this edition: it was my introduction to Kafka; the first story I opened the book up to was "The Watchman," and it has forever changed the way I look at the written word. For anyone who is new to Kafka and for whom the longer stories seem imposing or difficult, please allow me to repeat some advice I once received (though I do not remember where): start by reading some of the unpublished shorter stories from time to time (they're easy to find), pick and choose which ones to read; you do not need to over analyze or pick them apart — remember that Kafka is an absurdist. After a little while, try reading one of the collections (such as "Meditation"), then start going for longer and longer stories. Maybe one or two of them will be difficult, but the rest will probably be enjoyable, interesting, thought-provoking, and no longer daunting. This edition is an especially great way to read Kafka — I've read traditional collections since, and found them somehow lacking, though the translations are the same. It contains all the stories the traditional "completes" contain and then some (including "The Watchman" it contains about seven more stories), and many of those stories are real gems that deserve to read with the rest of Kafka's work. Instead of being divided into "long" and "short" short stories, the first half contains the stories published in Kafka's life time in the order of publication, and the second half contains all the known short stories that he left unpublished at his death. The first section also keeps the stories published in a collection together in their original order, allowing the reader to read them in their "intended" order. The second half attempts to put the stories in chronological order, but there is no way to know the actual order in which they were written. Nonetheless, it gives one an idea. Not only does this edition make the stories easy to find, it also is beautiful (in a simplistic way), is printed on good paper, and likely to last a long time. I recommend Kafka to anyone not currently struggling with depression and above the age of fifteen or so, and this edition to anyone who is looking to introduce themselves to his work or who wants to own a good copy of his short stories.
26 of 36 people found the following review helpful
the Muir's in tux and bow tie 9 Oct. 2001
By Michael Sympson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Check Your Review of
Collected Stories (Everyman's Library)
by Franz Kafka, et al

Here is your review the way it will appear:

= ÊÊ the Muir's in tux and bow tie
Reviewer: Michael Sympson from Florida
It has become customary for a current translator to preface his production with a little critique of his predecessors, especially the Muirs Ð after all we are not supposed to put our light under a bushel, but just between you and me: a great translator is just as rare as a great author, there might be billions and quadrillions of stars in the Universe, but the nights are still dark and the zodiac shows the same old signs since the countdown began at 11.00 am on Sunday, April 27th, 3877 BC. (central European time). Perhaps if the pay would be better there would be more stars in the firmament over Grub street.

So, since this is not the best of all worlds, only the best of all possible worlds, if not the only possible world, we better brace ourselves for surprises when a latter day translator of some repute allows to compare the "Country Doctor," perhaps Kafka's finest achievement, in his new version, with the established rendition of the Muirs. The very first sentence draws the line. Neugroshel (ÒThe Metamorphosis, in the Penal Colony, and Other StoriesÓ) thinks he knows better than the author and trims the sentence to bite-size:

"I was in a great predicament: an urgent trip lay ahead of me; a dangerously ill patient awaited me in a village ten leagues away; a heavy blizzard filled the vast space between me and him; I did have a wagon, lightweight, with large wheels, just the right kind of wagon for our country roads. Bundled up in my fur coat, holding my instrument bag, I stood in the courtyard, ready to travel; but the horse was lacking, the horse." But Kafka didnÕt write for the ÒToronto StarÓ and felt no obligation to chop his sentences to anemic tidbits for the weak digestion. The Muirs thought so too:

"I was in great perplexity, I had to start an urgent journey; a seriously ill patient was waiting for me in a village ten miles off; a thick blizzard of snow filled all the wide spaces between him and me; I had a gig, a light gig with big wheels, exactly right for our country roads; muffled in furs, my bag of instruments in my hand, I was in the courtyard all ready for the journey; but there was no horse to be had, no horse." Perhaps not the choice of words, but syntax and rhythm are incomparably closer to the original; in fact, this sentence alone deserves to be copyrighted for eternity and should oblige every succeeding translator to quote the Muirs. And why stop with the first sentence? The entire story is coming across splendidly. And by the way, the doctor used a gig, not a wagon, Mr. Neugroschel.

ÒEvery author creates his own pedigreeÓ says Jorge Luis Borges; and we know from KafkaÕs own testimony whom he had chosen as his models. Charles DickensÕ white hot fusion of language and imagery left its mark on ÒAmerica;Ó Flaubert taught Kafka the discipline to say extraordinary things in ordinary language and seek for the one befitting word; and late in his life, Heinrich von KleistÕs marvellous economy of structure and style left an indelible impression on Kafka. To some extent, Kafka even appreciated Friedrich Nietzsche. Just recall the rants and paragraphs of endless to-and-fro soliloquies in Ôlegalese,Õ KafkaÕs variety of the interior monologue.

Such were, what Kafka himself had recognized as formative influences. His friend Max Brod however, preferred to add Kierkegaard to this list and to belittle Nietzsche. BrodÕs view prevailed with the critics of his generation. KafkaÕs work drifted into the murky neighborhood of existentialism and of nebulous metaphysics for the secular seeker. For most critics and many readers, Kafka had turned from an artist to a saint. Regrettably the Muirs picked up on this trend and this sometimes slanted their choices in the phrasing - notice ÒI had to start an urgent journey ... :Ó Neugroschel was right to play it down in his rendition. Against all appearances, Kafka is not a latter day John Bunyan.

According to Stephen King (you are right, how could I sink so low) the two most important ingredients of fiction are empathy (the readerÕs) and the ability to hypnotize (on the authorÕs part). The man is right, and Kafka does possess hypnotic powers if the reader is willing to yield to his magic. KafkaÕs stories are dreams, not more real than fairy tales, and full of symbols as confusing as in a nightmare. The Muirs had enough artistic instinct to actually perceive that, and all things considered, produced a translation, which will remain the standard for still a very long time to come.
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