Franz Kafka's final novel tells the haunting tale of a man known only as K. and of his relentless, unavailing struggle with an inscrutable authority in order to gain entrance to the Castle. Although Kafka seemed to consider The Castle a failure, critics, in wrestling with its enigmatic meaning, have recognized it as one of the great novels of our century.
Unfinished at Kafka's death in 1924, the manuscript of The Castle was edited for publication by Kafka's friend and literary executor, Max Brod. Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir and with an Introduction by Irving Howe; homage by Thomas Mann; additional material translated by Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser.
The son of a well-to-do merchant, Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883 and died of tuberculosis in a sanitorium near Vienna in 1924. After earning a law degree in 1906, he worked most of his adult life at the Workers Accident Insurance Company for the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague. Only a small portion of his writings were published during his lifetime; most of them, including the three unfinished novels, Amerika, The Trial, and The Castle, were published posthumously.
Mark Harman holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and has taught German and Irish literature at Oberlin and Dartmouth. In addition to writing scholarly essays on Kafka and other modern authors, he has edited and co-translated Robert Walser Rediscovered: Stories, Fairy-Tale Plays, and Critical Responses and has translated Soul of the Age: Selected Letters of Hermann Hesse, 1891-1962.