Kafka: the Pioneer of New Story - By Professor Dr. Saadat Saeed
Though Franz Kafka had perceived deeply the tragic aspects of life but no one by any means could call him the worshiper of sickness or death. German Symbolism had many points of familiarity with the currents of symbolism in the rest of western art and literature. No doubt Kafka is an illustrious symbolist fiction writer yet his individualistic style has close contact with that of commonly used in narrative short story. Even most of the titles and subtitles of his short stories such as "Unmasking a Confident Trickster" 'The Sudden Walk "Bachelor's III Luck" "Absent Minded Window-gazing" The Old Manuscript" "Before the Law" "A visit to a Mine" "A Message from the Emperor and "A fatting Showman" etc highlight his attachment to descriptive fiction. It is said the paradoxical state in search of an object already probed and pursued for the purpose of any explanation, is also a dominant note in the novels and stories of Franz Kafka. He hankers after the paradoxical nature of human existence and reflects it successfully in his creations. He sees in parts the basic conditions of human existence and chases the visible or invisible pains and wounds in every phase of actuality.
Dwelling on what is taking place in the fields of literature even in the age of great achievements in the domain of video science. We comprehend a few notable facts related to its significance. One of them is the magic of word, which still haunts readers to accept literature as a form of expression which can explain perfectly an unseen, unknown, and invisible object or idea with its glorious vastness and depth.
In fact it rests on variations of distinct grounds of truth having various frequencies of simplicity, complication, abstraction and symbolism. I. A Richards puts correctly in" The philosophy of rhetoric" that the extra sense which a literary sentences contains is designated as emotional.
The mechanical eye of a camera lacks this magic. So in metaphors, symbols, similes, allegories and notions used by Charles Baudelaire, Henerik Ibsen, Herman Melivlle, Marcel Proust, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Paul Valery, Franz Kafka, August Stnndberg, Anton Chekove, Eugene 0 Neill, James Joyce, Thomas Mann, Joseph Conrad, T.S Elliot, Samuel Becket, William Faukner Wallace Stevens, Antonin Artruad and Jaen Janet are appreciated with their full vastness and dimensions by sensitive readers.
They influence their thought only to the extent of their acceptance by them. It requires hard creative labour to translate even the selective works by any one of above mentioned literary giants. Following Hasan Askari, Intizar Husain, Muhammad Salim ur Rehman, Anis Nagi, Muhammad Umer Memon, Dr Munir ud Din Ahamad, Afzal Ahamad Sayed, Asif Farruki, Sagir Malal, Ajmal Kamal and Wajahat Masaud, Asim Bbutt an upcoming intellectual from Lahore has successfully translated the works by a trend setter of short fiction in our century. The "Kafka
Kahanian" published by Jang Publications is a great achievement by a creative writer who is shy in nature and still unknown to the literary souls having considerable worth.
Muhammad Asim Butt is one of the distinguished young Urdu writers who have contributed something exceptional and memorable to Urdu belles letters. He was educated in Govt. College Lahore where he obtained his Masters of Arts degree in philosophy and started his career as a journalist. Recently he has translated many short stories by Kafka, the German short story writer who is known as the pioneer of symbolic short story in the literary world. Kafka' Metamorphoses, the great long short story is known as a land mark of modern symbolic fiction.
Translating Kafka from English text Asim Butt has tried to maintain descriptive elements of his style to the extent of self-evident limitations. Kafka disdained to explore the nature of his own means, words in arrangements, as his main concern was the question of human pride to which he presented successfully in an impressive and explicit diction. Asim has selected several weighty short stories such as Metamorphosis, Judgement, Passer-by, The street Window, The new advocate, Jackals and Arabs, A Dream, Mouse Polk, The Barren, The Giant Mole, Knock at the Mirror's Door, and Poseidon, for Urdu translation from Kafka's famous collections Meditations, A country Doctor, A Hunger Artist A drama, reportages, letters and a few comments on Kafka's life and works are also included in Kaika Kahanian. Asim writes about the profundity of the works by his ideal." Like every great Artist Kafka's literature has several thick lairs of meaning to which many generations would reveal in parts. Probably I belong to the second generation after the death of Kafka. Many of his literary lairs were probed and discovered by our predecessors. We, too, have explored a few and leftover would be at the disposal of future generations. However no generation solely and finally could claim that it had discovered Kafka completely.
First and second decade of the present century was a great mark in the breeding of new symbolic literature in west.
The vicinities of content and form were absorbing new impressions and expressions crafted by the movements such as Art Nouveau, Abstract Art and symbolism in painting and sculpture. The writers were accepting the role of preserving human identity in the mechanised atmosphere created by new industrial developments. Kafka's Metamorphoses could be analysed in this background.
It builds a wall of great resistance against the routine situations created by a mechanized society Asim Butt rightly points out "In Kafka's works with the help of specific novel form, rhythm and distinct vocabulary of symbols a new vast world comes into existence.
It boundaries are attached with realities and horizons open in the vastness of imagination . In this world it is not possible to express faith on he divinity of spirit, blue blood of man and finally of nature. It presents features of man who has become the victim of spiritual strains and corporeal faithlessness. In his works Kafka
embodies the futility and absurdity of man and after pre senting new dimensions of thought to modern man, raises basic question of relationship of Man with nature.
In this perspective he adopts the symbolic way of expression and it seems as if Dostoyevsky is his true predecessor when he writes "Reality is not limited to what we are familiar with. For it contains an enormous portion of something in the form of the unsaid future word." It reminds us the qualities of the word." It reminds us the qualities of the words having great magical tones. Sartre writes in his article" The quest for the absolute "Kafka as he lay dying asked to have his books burned and Dostroyevsky during the very last moments of his life dreamed of writing a sequel to "The Brother Karamozove" Both may have died dissatisfied, the former thinking that he would depart from the world without even making the mark on it and the latter that he had not produced anything good.
And yet both were victors, regardless of what they might have thought. Thranlating Kafka into Urdu Asim Butt has captured artistically not only the clarity of his style but also the new dimensions of his perception. Kafka Kahanian perfectly projects all the irrationalities portrayed by the author. Kafka was fond of creating allegorical and dramatic tons in depiction of realties of life and the world of his invisible experience. Asim Butt's creative translation made possible for him to come out with dying
colours in the field of literature.