Monday, December 21, 2015

Nervi's Kafka Project

It is a poet's website, and he is publishing all of Kafka in many languages, if the translators authorize free publication.

He is a strange poet: strange, because he used to write poetry in Esperanto, and maybe he still does!

That is like making a drawing with a typewriter the way Churchill bravely did to explain the setting in his first book, probably because a manual drawing would have been more expensive to print.


Nervi's website publishes all of Kafka's short stories and parables, beautiful to read, hard to understand except à la longue, i.e. little by little, the way one ends up understanding a strange dialect or even a new language: you will fail if you try to do a lot in one sitting.

And as to the idea of writing poetry in Esperanto..... unless you mean simply things that happen to rhyme?

The real languages have big roots deep in the past, even in religion and myth, as well as many smaller, delicate roots in the minds of the great more recent poets and their readers. Compared to that, a novel language is a word list with a Gebrauchsanweisung.

Ian Johnston's English translations are free at his website at


By the way, these authors that attack Proust for writing long sentences and even measured one of those sentences with a string and said it would have wrapped 17 times around a wine bottle ...... have they looked at Kafka's?

Long sentences can be very beautiful. They are not necessarily of the garden path variety, and  even those depend on the designer.

Reading a long sentence by Kafka, Shakespeare, or Proust in the original language feels more like a trip in one of these

As it starts lifting, its trajectory is nature's spell.

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