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Franz Kafka - book author

Franz Kafka was one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia (presently the Czech Republic), Austria–Hungary. His unique body of writing—much of which is incomplete and which was mainly published posthumously—is considered to be among the most influential in Western literature.

His stories include "The Metamorphosis" (1912) and "In the Penal Colony" (1914), while his novels are The Trial (1925), The Castle (1926) and Amerika (1927).

Kafka's first language was German, but he was also fluent in Czech. Later, Kafka acquired some knowledge of the French language and culture; one of his favorite authors was Flaubert.

Kafka first studied chemistry at the Charles-Ferdinand University of Prague, but switched after two weeks to law. This offered a range of career possibilities, which pleased his father, and required a longer course of study that gave Kafka time to take classes in German studies and art history. At the university, he joined a student club, named Lese- und Redehalle der Deutschen Studenten, which organized literary events, readings and other activities. In the end of his first year of studies, he met Max Brod, who would become a close friend of his throughout his life, together with the journalist Felix Weltsch, who also studied law. Kafka obtained the degree of Doctor of Law on 18 June 1906 and performed an obligatory year of unpaid service as law clerk for the civil and criminal courts.

Kafka's writing attracted little attention until after his death. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories and never finished any of his novels, unless "The Metamorphosis" is considered a (short) novel. Prior to his death, Kafka wrote to his friend and literary executor Max Brod: "Dearest Max, my last request: Everything I leave behind me ... in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others'), sketches, and so on, [is] to be burned unread." Brod overrode Kafka's wishes, believing that Kafka had given these directions to him specifically because Kafka knew he would not honor them—Brod had told him as much. Brod, in fact, would oversee the publication of most of Kafka's work in his possession, which soon began to attract attention and high critical regard.

Max Brod encountered significant difficulty in compiling Kafka's notebooks into any chronological order as Kafka was known to start writing in the middle of notebooks, from the last towards the first, etc.

All of Kafka's published works, except several letters he wrote in Czech to Milena Jesenská, were written in German.

Franz Kafka is the author of books: The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, The Castle, The Complete Stories, Amerika, The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories: The Great Short Works of Franz Kafka, In the Penal Colony, A Hunger Artist, Letter to His Father

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Alternate cover edition of ISBN 0553213695 / 9780553213690

"As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was laying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes."

With it's startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first opening, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. A harrowing—though absurdly comic—meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of twentieth-century fiction. As W.H. Auden wrote, "Kafka is important to us because his predicament is the predicament of modern man."
Written in 1914 but not published until 1925, a year after Kafka’s death, The Trial is the terrifying tale of Josef K., a respectable bank officer who is suddenly and inexplicably arrested and must defend himself against a charge about which he can get no information. Whether read as an existential tale, a parable, or a prophecy of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the madness of totalitarianism, The Trial has resonated with chilling truth for generations of readers.
The Metamorphosis and Other Stories, by Franz Kafka, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Virtually unknown during his lifetime, Franz Kafka is now one of the world’s most widely read and discussed authors. His nightmarish novels and short stories have come to symbolize modern man’s anxiety and alienation in a bizarre, hostile, and dehumanized world. This vision is most fully realized in Kafka’s masterpiece, “The Metamorphosis,” a story that is both harrowing and amusing, and a landmark of modern literature.

Bringing together some of Kafka’s finest work, this collection demonstrates the richness and variety of the author’s artistry. “The Judgment,” which Kafka considered to be his decisive breakthrough, and “The Stoker,” which became the first chapter of his novel Amerika, are here included. These two, along with “The Metamorphosis,” form a suite of stories Kafka referred to as “The Sons,” and they collectively present a devastating portrait of the modern family.

Also included are “In the Penal Colony,” a story of a torture machine and its operators and victims, and “A Hunger Artist,” about the absurdity of an artist trying to communicate with a misunderstanding public. Kafka’s lucid, succinct writing chronicles the labyrinthine complexities, the futility-laden horror, and the stifling oppressiveness that permeate his vision of modern life.

Jason Baker is a writer of short stories living in Brooklyn, New York.
Translated and with a preface by Mark Harman

Left unfinished by Kafka in 1922 and not published until 1926, two years after his death, The Castle is the haunting tale of K.’s relentless, unavailing struggle with an inscrutable authority in order to gain access to the Castle. Scrupulously following the fluidity and breathlessness of the sparsely punctuated original manuscript, Mark Harman’s new translation reveals levels of comedy, energy, and visual power, previously unknown to English language readers.
The Complete Stories brings together all of Kafka’s stories, from the classic tales such as “The Metamorphosis,” “In the Penal Colony,” and “A Hunger Artist” to shorter pieces and fragments that Max Brod, Kafka’s literary executor, released after Kafka’s death. With the exception of his three novels, the whole of Kafka’s narrative work is included in this volume.

Two Introductory parables: Before the law --
Imperial message --
Longer stories: Description of a struggle --
Wedding preparations in the country --
Judgment --
Metamorphosis --
In the penal colony --
Village schoolmaster (The giant mole) --
Blumfeld, and elderly bachelor --
Warden of the tomb --
Country doctor --
Hunter Gracchus --
Hunter Gracchus: A fragment --
Great Wall of China --
News of the building of the wall: A fragment --
Report to an academy --
Report to an academy: Two fragments --
Refusal --
Hunger artist --
Investigations of a dog --
Little woman --
The burrow --
Josephine the singer, or the mouse folk --
Children on a country road --
The trees --
Clothes --
Excursion into the mountains --
Rejection --
The street window --
The tradesman --
Absent-minded window-gazing --
The way home --
Passers-by --
On the tram --
Reflections for gentlemen-jockeys --
The wish to be a red Indian --
Unhappiness --
Bachelor's ill luck --
Unmasking a confidence trickster --
The sudden walk --
Resolutions --
A dream --
Up in the gallery --
A fratricide --
The next village --
A visit to a mine --
Jackals and Arabs --
The bridge --
The bucket rider --
The new advocate --
An old manuscript --
The knock at the manor gate --
Eleven sons --
My neighbor --
A crossbreed (A sport) --
The cares of a family man --
A common confusion --
The truth about Sancho Panza --
The silence of the sirens --
Prometheus --
The city coat of arms --
Poseidon --
Fellowship --
At night --
The problem of our laws --
The conscripton of troops --
The test --
The vulture --
The helmsman --
The top --
A little fable --
Home-coming --
First sorrow --
The departure --
Advocates --
The married couple --
Give it up! --
On parables.
Kafka's first and funniest novel, Amerika tells the story of the young immigrant Karl Rossmann who, after an embarrassing sexual misadventure, finds himself "packed off to America" by his parents. Expected to redeem himself in this magical land of opportunity, young Karl is swept up instead in a whirlwind of dizzying reversals, strange escapades, and picaresque adventures.

Although Kafka never visited America, images of its vast landscape, dangers, and opportunities inspired this saga of the "golden land." Here is a startlingly modern, fantastic and visionary tale of America "as a place no one has yet seen, in a historical period that can't be identified," writes E. L. Doctorow in his new foreword. "Kafka made his novel from his own mind's mythic elements," Doctorow explains, "and the research data that caught his eye were bent like rays in a field of gravity."
Translated by PEN translation award-winner Joachim Neugroschel, The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories has garnered critical acclaim and is widely recognized as the preeminent English-language anthology of Kafka's stories. These translations illuminate one of this century's most controversial writers and have made Kafka's work accessible to a whole new generation. This classic collection of forty-one great short works -- including such timeless pieces of modern fiction as "The Judgment" and "The Stoker" -- now includes two new stories, "First Sorrow" and "The Hunger Artist."
Kafka’nın Birinci Dünya Savaşı’nın karanlık günlerinde yazdığı Ceza Kolonisinde isimli öyküde, bilinmeyen bir adadaki koloniyi ziyarete giden bir gezgin, orada tüyler ürpertici bir sistemle karşılaşır. Kişinin suçlu olup olmadığına bakılmaksızın, ona kendini savunma hakkı bile verilmeden, acımasız bir zekânın ürünü olan tuhaf bir makineyle cezalandırıldığına tanık olur. Tüm gücü elinde tutan ve geçmişe körü körüne bağlı subayın anlattıklarıyla içinden çıkılması zor bir ikilemde kalır.

Gözlem ise, Kafka’nın 1904-1912 yılları arasında yazdığı on sekiz kısa öyküyü topladığı ilk kitabıdır. Birbirinden kaotik anlara ışık tutan bu eser, yakından bakıldığında aslında herkes için bir yerlerde var olan umudu anlatır.

İnsanın sıkıştığı cendereyi kendine has bir acımasızlıkla ele alarak Avrupa’nın içinde olduğu şiddet dolu atmosferi okurun iliklerine kadar işleten bu öyküleri, Ahmet Arpad’ın özenli çevirisiyle sunuyoruz.

(Tanıtım Bülteninden)
The last book published during Kafka's lifetime, A Hunger Artist (1924) explores many of the themes that were close to him: spiritual poverty, asceticism, futility, and the alienation of the modern artist.

He edited the manuscript just before his death, and these four stories are some of his best known and most powerful work, marking his maturity as a writer. In addition to "First Sorrow," "A Little Woman," and "Josephine the Singer, or the Mouse People" is the title story, "A Hunger Artist," which has been called by the critic Heinz Politzer "a perfection, a fatal fulfillment that expresses Kafka's desire for permanence."

The three volumes Twisted Spoon Press has published: Contemplation, A Country Doctor, and A Hunger Artist are the collections of stories that Kafka had published during his lifetime. Though each volume has its own distinctive character, they have most often appeared in English in collected editions. They are presented here as separate editions, in new translations by Kevin Blahut, each with its own illustrator from the Prague community.
This is the bilingual edition with German verso, English recto.