Tuesday, 17 July 2007
Kafka and the Women
The seventh foreign edition of my biography of Franz Kafka has just flopped through the letterbox. They have changed the title to Kafka and the Women or Kafka's Women which I suppose is fair enough given that this was an emphasis of the book (Kafka's lifelong search for a partner) but it's an interesting insight into the world of international publishing where the author doesn't always get a look in. The US edition of my biography of Aldous Huxley, which in the UK was called Aldous Huxley: an English Intellectual, became Aldous Huxley: a biography, the first I knew about it being when a boxful arrived at the door. In the latter case the word "intellectual" was probably a bit high-risk.
This reminds me of WH Auden's little rhyme (forgive me, I'm quoting this from memory): "To the man in the street whom I'm sorry to say/Is a keen observer of life/The word 'intellectual' means straightaway/A man who's untrue to his wife."