A new translation of the author's complete, uncensored diaries. 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.
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 ... This edition scuffs him up and returns him to earth, in an intimate manner that does no injury to our sense of his suffering, or his profound and original gifts.
Brod’s edition reads something like a finished work, Mr. Benjamin’s... like, well, a diary. In a departure from the elevated tone of Kafka’s previous English translators... Mr. Benjamin’s English sticks closer to the texture of the German original, much less polished than the crystalline prose of his published works, in an effort to 'catch Kafka in the act of writing.' As might be expected of a critical edition mainly intended for a scholarly audience, it’s harder to read, and stylistically not quite placeable (there are many instances where the translation could have been relaxed even further). But, in prioritizing transparency above all, Mr. Benjamin’s translation doesn’t just supplant the previous edition—it inaugurates a new phase of Kafka’s afterlife in English.
Ross Benjamin’s momentous new translation... is the first to convey the full extent of their twitchy tenuousness ... As Ross Benjamin notes in the thoughtful introduction to his new translation, his aim is to capture the extent to which the diaries were a 'laboratory for Kafka’s literary production' and thereby catch the author 'in the act of writing.' He has succeeded.