Archive for the ‘Franz Kafka’ Category

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (E-Book)

October 1, 2008

The Metamorphosis, first published in 1915, is the most famous of Kafka’s works, along with The Trial and The Castle. The story begins when a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant insect. Curiously, his condition does not arouse surprise in his family, who merely despise it as an impending burden. As with all of Kafka’s works, The Metamorphosis is open to a wide range of interpretations. Most obvious are themes relating to society’s treatment of those who are different, the loneliness of isolation, and the absurdity of the human condition.

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The Trial by Franz Kafka (E-Book)

October 1, 2008

Amazon.com Review
The story of The Trial‘s publication is almost as fascinating as the novel itself. Kafka intended his parable of alienation in a mysterious bureaucracy to be burned, along with the rest of his diaries and manuscripts, after his death in 1924. Yet his friend Max Brod pressed forward to prepare The Trial and the rest of his papers for publication. When the Nazis came to power, publication of Jewish writers such as Kafka was forbidden; Kafka’s writings, many of which have distinctively Jewish themes, did not find a broad audience until after World War II. (Hannah Arendt once observed that although “during his lifetime he could not make a decent living, [Kafka] will now keep generations of intellectuals both gainfully employed and well-fed.”) Among the current crop of Kafka heirs is Breon Mitchell, the translator of this edition of The Trial. Rather than tidying up Kafka’s unconventional grammar and punctuation (as previous translators have done), Mitchell captures the loose, uneasy, even uncomfortable constructions of Kafka’s original story. His translation technique is the only way to convey the comedy and confusion of this narrative, in which Josef K., “without having done anything truly wrong,” is arrested, tried, convicted and executed–on a charge that is never disclosed to him.

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