Franz Kafka – Diaries
Translator Ross Benjamin in Conversation with Clara Louden (SCR ’25) and Alexej Latimer (POM ’24) about the first complete translation of Franz Kafka’s Diaries.
February 22, 2023, 6 PM
Clark Humanities Museum
Book Raffle and Refreshments
ABOUT ROSS BENJAMIN
ROSS BENJAMIN’s translations include Friedrich Hölderlin’s Hyperion, Joseph Roth’s Job, and Daniel Kehlmann’s You Should Have Left and Tyll. He was awarded the 2010 Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize for his rendering of Michael Maar’s Speak, Nabokov, and he received a Guggenheim fellowship for his work on Franz Kafka’s diaries.
ABOUT FRANZ KAFKA
FRANZ KAFKA was born in 1883 in Prague, where he lived most of his life. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories, including “The Metamorphosis,” “The Judgment,” and “The Stoker.” He died in 1924, before completing any of his full-length novels. At the end of his life, Kafka asked his lifelong friend and literary executor Max Brod to burn all his unpublished work. Brod overrode those wishes.
ABOUT THE DIARIES OF FRANZ KAFKA
An essential new translation of the author’s complete, uncensored diaries—a revelation of the idiosyncrasies and rough edges of one of the twentieth century’s most influential writers.
“Momentous… Everything in the diaries thrashes.” (The New Yorker)
“The new volume, in a sensitive and briskly idiomatic translation by Ross Benjamin, offers revelation upon revelation. It’s an invaluable addition to Kafka’s oeuvre.”
(The New York Times)
Dating from 1909 to 1923, the handwritten diaries contain various kinds of writing: accounts of daily events, reflections, observations, literary sketches, drafts of letters, accounts of dreams, as well as finished stories. This volume makes available for the first time in English a comprehensive reconstruction of the diary entries and provides substantial new content, including details, names, literary works, and passages of a sexual nature that were omitted from previous publications. By faithfully reproducing the diaries’ distinctive—and often surprisingly unpolished—writing in Kafka’s notebooks, translator Ross Benjamin brings to light not only the author’s use of the diaries for literary experimentation and private self-expression, but also their value as a work of art in themselves.