The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

By Franz Kafka; Ritchie Robertson; Joyce Crick (Translator)

Oxford University Press, USA, Paperback, 9780199238552, 208pp.

Publication Date: July 1, 2009

Description
It is one of the most memorable first lines in all of literature: "When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into some kind of monstrous vermin." So begins Kafka's famous short story, The Metamorphosis. Kafka considered publishing it with two of the stories included here in a volume to be called Punishments. The Judgment explores an enigmatic power struggle between a father and son, while In the Penal Colony examines questions of power, justice, punishment, and the meaning of pain in a colonial setting. These three stories are flanked by two very different works. Meditation, the first book Kafka published, consists of light, whimsical, often poignant mood-pictures, while the autobiographical Letter to his Father analyzes his difficult relationship with his father in devastating detail. This new translation by Joyce Crick pays particular attention to the nuances of Kafka's style, and the Introduction and notes by Ritchie Robertson provide guidance to this most enigmatic and rewarding of writers. There is also a Biographical Preface, an up-to-date bibliography, and a chronology of Kafka's life.
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About the Author
Franz Kafka was born to Jewish parents in Bohemia in 1883. Kafka s father was a luxury goods retailer who worked long hours and as a result never became close with his son. Kafka s relationship with his father greatly influenced his later writing and directly informed his Brief an den Vater (Letter to His Father). Kafka had a thorough education and was fluent in both German and Czech. As a young man, he was hired to work at an insurance company where he was quickly promoted despite his desire to devote his time to writing rather than insurance. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote a great number of stories, letters, and essays, but burned the majority of his work before his death and requested that his friend Max Brod burn the rest. Brod, however, did not fulfill this request and published many of the works in the years following Kafka s death of tuberculosis in 1924. Thus, most of Kafka s works were published posthumously, and he did not live to see them recognized as some of the most important examples of literature of the twentieth century. Kafka s works are considered among the most significant pieces of existentialist writing, and he is remembered for his poignant depictions of internal conflicts with alienation and oppression. Some of Kafka s most famous works include The Metamorphosis, The Trial and The Castle.

Ritchie Robertson is a Professor of German and a Fellow of St. John's College at the University of Oxford.