Publication Date: February 14, 2006
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From the internationally acclaimed author of The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony comes one of the most significant books in recent years on a writer of perennial interest–a virtuoso interpretation of the work of Franz Kafka.
What are Kafka’s fictions about? Are they dreams? Allegories? Symbols? Countless answers have been offered, but the essential mystery remains intact. Setting out on his own exploration, Roberto Calasso enters the flow, the tortuous movement, the physiology of Kafka’s work to discover why K. and Josef K.–the protagonists of The Castle and The Trial–are so radically different from any other character in the history of the novel, and to determine who, in the end, is K. The culmination of Calasso’s lifelong fascination with Kafka’s work, K. is also an unprecedented consideration of the mystery of Kafka himself.
Born in Florence, Roberto Calasso lives in Milan, where he is publisher of Adelphi. He is the author of The Ruin of Kasch; The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, which was the winner of France’s Prix Veillon and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger; Ka; Literature and the Gods; and The Forty-Nine Steps.
“For such a writer [as Kafka], Calasso is the ideal critic.” –The New Yorker
“No one could bring more intelligence and cultural range to a fresh encounter with Kafka [than] the erudite and sophisticated Calasso. . . . His prose is a marvel, and K. makes for an exhilarating adventure.” –Frederick Crews, The New York Review of Books
“Engaging. . . . As good an account of the strangeness of Kafka’s world and the reason for its bizarre coherence as anyone has offered.” –The New Republic
“Translucent and revelatory. . . . It’s a measure of Calasso’s accomplishment that his readings feel familiar, as though his erudition were inside us. . . . His tone, while epic, is also welcoming.” –The New York Times Book Review
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org