19 July 2009

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Franz Kafka is one of the most original and idiosyncratic writers of the twentieth century. He published very little during his own lifetime; he lived for literature (in fact he said "I am literature"); he wasn't formally a great novelist or writer of short stories; and yet he put his stamp on literature to such an extent that his name has become an adjective - and we now speak of Kafkaesque situations and circumstances. These tend to be scenarios in which the individual is trapped in madly contradictory situations, confronted by bureaucratic and totalitarian forces over which he has no control. That's why Kafka's reputation soared in the 1930s and 1940s. He prophesied the sort of state which condemned individuals as guilty - but didn't tell them of what they were being accused. He spelled out the mad logic of the show trials long before they took place, and he is quite rightly regarded as a precursor of ... Read more >>

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