Frants Kafka: roman, novelly, pritchi [Franz Kafka: a novel [The Trial], novellas, parables].

Moscow, “Progress”, 1965.

Squarish 8vo, pp. 613, [3]; two-page title and divisional titles printed in red and black; original cloth, with dust-jacket, spine lightly soiled, a few nicks to the edges.

£1350

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First edition in Russian of Der Prozess, part of the ‘recent unprecendented publication’ (Struc) of Kafka in Russian. Also published here are a number of short stories, some of which had previously appeared in Ukrainian and Russian in Soviet periodicals. The translators include R. Rait-Kovaleva, I. Tatarinova, R. Galperinna, S. Apt, L. Chernaya, M. Abezgauz, S. Shlapoberskaya, N. Kasatkina, and V. Stanevich.

‘The knowledge and appraisal of Franz Kafka in the Soviet Union is involved in that strange political development of recent years known as “the Thaw.” Though it is political in nature, “the Thaw” has had ramifications in areas like literature, mostly of a liberalizing nature … Two gatherings of writers and responses to those gatherings seem to be responsible. First there was the Kafka Conference in Prague in May of 1963. This was a conference attended by a number of European intellectuals. Secondly there was the International Writers’ Congress in Leningrad in August of 1963. The Leningrad Congress could boast the attendance of Sartre, Robbe-Grillet, Nathalie Sarraute, Angus Wilson, William Golding, and Hans Enzensberger … [and] almost every Western writer acknowledged the debt of the modern novel to Proust, Joyce, and Kafka. It is significant that Robbe-Grillet expressed disappointment at the hostile Soviet criticism of these men. It sounded to him no different than that of his own “reactionary” country’ (Struc, pp. 193, 195–6).

In December 1963, the Ukrainian journal Vsesvit published excerpts from Amerika, Die Verwandlung, Der Prozess, Der Kübelreiter, and Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer. Complete Russian versions of some of these (among them Die Verwandlung and In der Strafkolonie, which are also included in the present collection), by S. Apt, followed in Inostrannaia Literatura in January 1964.

Roman S. Struc, ‘Franz Kafka in the Soviet Union: a report’, Monatshefte, 57/4 (University of Wisconsin Press, 1965), pp. 193–197.

OCLC locates 3 copies in America: Illinois, Western Washington University, Los Angeles Public Library.

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