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The Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Oxford…

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics) (edition 2009)

by Franz Kafka, Ritchie Robertson, Joyce Crick (Translator)

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Title:The Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Oxford World's Classics)
Authors:Franz Kafka
Other authors:Ritchie Robertson, Joyce Crick (Translator)
Info:Oxford University Press, USA (2009), Paperback, 208 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Metamorphosis and Other Stories [Oxford World's Classics] by Franz Kafka



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The collection might be a good way to dip your toe into the dark, cold, bottomless Kafka oeuvre if the collected stories seem formidable. It contains 3 of his best known fictions: The Judgment, The Metamorphosis, and In the Penal Colony. It also includes his earliest published work, Meditations, and Letter to His Father, which is non-fiction to the extent that anything FK writes could be termed non-fiction.

It’s hard to nail down Kafka’s distinctive style. It uses various techniques to make reading very slow. Paragraphs seem to go on forever. Although Kafka claims he was not a good student, his training in law as well as his day job at an insurance company seem to be reflected in the prose style of how he represents action, dialog, and thought. (There might also be some influence from Biblical exegesis.) With regard to law, this is the discourse of briefs and memoranda, not the dramatic, persuasive rhetoric used for juries. There’s probably something in there from insurance claims reports, as well. Reasoning is followed as strictly as possible, emotion is excluded, repetition is often employed to make a point clear, and getting from point to point is documented in meticulous detail even if it seems unnecessary. The translation I believe reflects the original style. Part of the humor is that what is being described is nightmare crazy. Or maybe the dry discourse is meant to keep the crazy in check.

The introduction and notes can be helpful but to an annoying degree appear to be reading allusions in dead metaphors.

The Letter to His Father was new to me. It was long and exasperating, like watching a passive-aggressive character going through its routine, claiming no blame is involved while piling on the blame, using apparent self-criticism to display one’s victimhood. There may be an element of self-satire, but his friend Max Brod had to persuade him not to send it so it’s hard not to see this as the warts and all Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The letter documents a childhood memory that seems to capture FK’s personality: “One night I kept whining for water, certainly not because I was thirsty, but partly to annoy you, I suppose, and partly to amuse myself.”

Reading Kafka’s works as being about the family romance is reductive though. Family had a profound influence on him and shapes his expression, but his own family memories are used to launch the interior world building that seems so alien but familiar, to make the writing suggestive in the literary rather than the Freudian sense. ( )
  featherbear | Nov 11, 2017 |
Den här boken är så annorlunda att den kan få vem som helst att känna sig riktigt normal.
  pilvi | Sep 11, 2012 |
“As Gregor Samsa awoke from unsettling dreams one morning, he found himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin” (3). So opens Kafka’s most well-known novel about a man who has suddenly transformed into a giant beetle/cockroach. On the surface, the story is about Gregor, who is a dutiful son, and has moved back home to help his mother, father, and sister. He took a job as a salesman in order to provide financially for his family. He has only been home a short time when he transforms into a giant bug, and cannot anymore go to work. His family is shocked, but not enough to do try to get him help or get rid of him. His sister takes over care of Gregor, bringing him food and cleaning his room each day, while his parents, and even his sister, must take jobs in order to survive. The family is able to go on like this for some time, but then they must rent a room in their apartment. The renters have no idea that Gregor is living next to them until one day, he escapes his room to listen to his sister play her violin. The renters are appalled, and the family realizes there is only one solution to the problem of what to do about Gregor: they must make him go. Looking deeper into this short novel, one may see this novel as an allegory, with many symbols and metaphors. Starting with the title, The Metamorphosis, and continuing until the end, readers could see a way to look at themselves: have we transformed ourselves into something society wants us to be? And how do we view ourselves after that has happened? Can we avoid that kind of metamorphosis? A wonderful short novel with many layers of depth, The Metamorphosis is a classic that can be read by anyone, and interpreted several ways. ( )
1 vote litgirl29 | Jun 24, 2011 |
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There are a number of anthologies with the same title. This one contains:
  1. Meditation
  2. The judgement
  3. The metamorphosis
  4. In the penal colony
  5. Letter to his father
Please do not combine with collections that contain a different selection of stories.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0199238553, Paperback)

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.

About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:32 -0400)

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