As he entered New York Harbor on the now slow-moving ship, Karl Rossmann, a seventeen-year-old youth who had been sent to America by his poor parents because a servant girl had seduced him and borne a child by him, saw the Statue of Liberty, which he had been observing for some time, as if in a sudden burst of sunlight. The arm with the sword now reached aloft, and about her figure blew the free winds.
The first paragraph of Franz Kafka’s novel Amerika.
The translation here is by Mark Harman, from his reworking of the novel “based on the restored text” and published by Schoken as Amerika: The Missing Person. I reviewed Harman’s translation several years ago.
2 thoughts on “Kafka’s Statue of Liberty”
[…] Kafka’s Statue of Liberty […]
[…] that a single out-of-place detail can undermine the story you’re telling, too. When Franz Kafka put a sword in the upraised hand of the Statue of Liberty in his early novel Amerika, it was pretty clear that he didn’t know what he was talking about. […]