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The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Trial (1925)

by Franz Kafka

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,520186205 (4.01)541
A symbolistic study of the tyranny of modern social systems. Portrays the experiences of a young man who is mysteriously arrested by agents of the police for an unspecified crime and is prepared for questioning and trial.
  1. 183
    The Stranger by Albert Camus (chrisharpe, DLSmithies)
    DLSmithies: Two protagonists on trial without really understanding what they're being accused of - it's just a question of degree.
  2. 141
    The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (haraldo)
  3. 110
    Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings (New Directions Paperbook, 186) by Jorge Luis Borges (johnxlibris)
  4. 100
    Biblioteket i Babel : en antologi sammanställd ur novellsamlingarna Ficciones och El Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges (YagamiLight)
  5. 111
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (SanctiSpiritus)
  6. 50
    Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: Nabokov's book parallels Kafka both in style and theme. According to his Forward, Nabokov had not read Kafka when he wrote this, but he grudgingly nods toward Kafka as a "kindred soul".
  7. 40
    The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy (SanctiSpiritus)
  8. 40
    Kafka by David Zane Mairowitz (haraldo)
  9. 30
    The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky (markusnenadovus)
  10. 20
    Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman (gust)
  11. 20
    Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (chrisharpe)
  12. 20
    Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature by Gilles Deleuze (S_Meyerson)
  13. 10
    Arrêtez-moi là ! by Iain Levison (Babou_wk)
    Babou_wk: Chronique d'une erreur judiciaire/policière.
  14. 00
    The Memorandum by Václav Havel (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: absurdist take on the workings of bureaucracy
  15. 00
    Bleak House by Charles Dickens (Osbaldistone)
  16. 00
    Un hombre al margen by Alexandre Postel (caflores)
  17. 00
    The Investigation by Philippe Claudel (jodocus)
  18. 22
    The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (markusnenadovus)
  19. 11
    Herzog by Saul Bellow (SanctiSpiritus)
1920s (8)
Europe (151)
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English (153)  Italian (5)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (5)  French (4)  German (3)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  Greek (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (185)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
European and Western disillusionment with life was at a peak after World War I. The twentieth century was supposed to be humanity’s greatest; instead, it was full of greater ways (think, nerve gas, machine guns, and trench warfare) for humans to destroy themselves. In this context, Kafka wrote this novel, published only after his death. In this story of an everyman, the dilemma of Josef K. (or just K.) raises the question of what we should do in face of life’s seeming meaninglessness.

By forces beyond his control and beyond even his cognition, K. is thrust into a trial. He maintains his innocence of the charges – though those charges seem vague and unspoken – but lacks an adequate defense team of lawyers. He falls in and out of love with several women; even love is fleeting and provides little hope. He is judged by a legal system that he cannot meaningfully interact with.

He has discussions with three mainstays of Western life – the law, the arts, and the church. All of them do not provide adequate explanations for how he ought to live life. The arts, symbolized by a painter, provided the most compelling narrative (one of clairvoyance, or “clear seeing”), but by hiding the paintings, K. even rejects that this gloomy reality should be celebrated.

In a manner reminiscent of original sin, he lives under the cloud of deadly forces that he cannot control. This sentence of an unfair death is one that everyone is born into and cannot escape. Despite protests of innocence, no one is permanently acquitted of their fate. Even the priest’s explanation seems confusing at best. The ending fittingly resolves this tension.

I could not help but feel empathy for Kafka in this novel. I also could not help but picture scores of Europeans killing each other in trenches. An entire generation of young men from all over the continent are suddenly gone. And for what? The status quo ante bellum? This disillusionment was shared all over the arts community and by the populous during this era. A “Lost” Generation, they were nicknamed.

This novel should not be read by those looking for hope because it contains little. Instead, it presents the realities of life squarely. Hope must be brought in by the reader through some external means or else despair will reign triumphant, much as it did after World War I. Nonetheless, the existential story sheds light on the seeming meaninglessness that life offers. Fortunately, the remainder of the twentieth century resulted in human progress. Though still not perfect (as Kafka so vividly reminds us), the human story is not over. ( )
  scottjpearson | May 30, 2020 |
883.912 KAF
  alessandragg | Apr 26, 2020 |
833.912 KAF
  alessandragg | Apr 17, 2020 |
The Trial by Franz Kafka (1925)

I'm having a difficult time with this book. Aside from it being written back in 1925 in German, the author never finished it at that time. Essentially, it is about a man who wakes up to find he is arrested for a crime that is never specified. It almost feels like a dog chasing its tail...I wonder how this trial will proceed with the rantings from this narcissistic protagonist. It is rather amusing how he defends himself against a crime to which he has no knowledge of committing!

Having done some research it seems that this book was finished by someone else hence the lack of continuity or direction in this book. ( )
  marquis784 | Feb 15, 2020 |
This was the first Kafka I have ever read. Like most of his works, he never completed this, and it was published only after his early death from tuberculosis in 1924. Although the term "Kafkaesque" is often used simply to describe an impenetrable bureaucracy or maze, this novel has a nightmarish quality about it, with the inexplicable events happening to Josef K after his arrest for a crime that is unknown to both Josef and the reader. He confronts a colourful and strange array of bizarre characters while trying to navigate his way through this moral and judicial maze. The ending of the novel as published is abrupt and violent. There have been many interpretations of this over the years, but overall it is perhaps best to see simply as a piece of (mostly) atmospheric absurdist literature, with humorous undertones, and not try to over-analyse it. The very structure of the text makes it quite hard to read, being divided mostly into very long paragraphs, with dialogue embedded within them, not on separate lines, a characteristic that often puts me off reading a novel, though in this case, it seems appropriate. ( )
  john257hopper | Feb 8, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
Una mañana cualquiera, Josef K., joven empleado de un banco, se despierta en la pensión donde reside con la extraña visita de unos hombres que le comunican que está detenido -aunque por el momento seguirá libre-. Le informan de que se ha iniciado un proceso contra él, y le aseguran que conocerá los cargos a su debido tiempo. Así comienza una de las más memorables y enigmáticas pesadillas jamás escritas. Para el protagonista, Josef K., el proceso laberíntico en el que inesperadamente se ve inmerso supone una toma de conciencia de sí mismo, un despertar que le obliga a reflexionar sobre su propia existencia, sobre la pérdida de la inocencia y la aparición de la muerte. La lectura de El proceso produce cierto «horror vacui» pues nos sumerge en una existencia absurda, en el filo de la navaja entre la vida y la nada.
added by Pakoniet | editLecturalia

» Add other authors (447 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kafka, FranzAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Čermák, JosefTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Babuta, Subnivsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Banville, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bragg, BillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Branner, H.C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brod, MaxEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butler, E. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cober, Alan E.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrater, GabrielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fosshag, BengtIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hermsdorf, KlausAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koch, Hans-GerdEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kurpershoek, TheoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lambourne, NigelPhotogrammessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magris, ClaudioIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martinell, IngegärdTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, BreonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, EdwinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muir, WillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nahuys, Alice vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oldenburg, PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parry, IdrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raja, AnitaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salter, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simojoki, AukustiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zampa, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Someone must have been telling lies about Joseph K., for without having done anything wrong he was arrested one fine morning.
"The Court wants nothing from you. It receives you when you come and it dismisses you when you go."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A Josef K., un giovane impiegato di banca che conduce una tranquilla vita borghese, viene notificato di essere in arresto per una colpa misteriosa. Il giovane cerca di difendersi, ma non riesce neppure a sapere di che cosa precisamente venga accusato. Lenta ma inarrestabile, la macchina processuale invaderà a poco a poco tutta la sua esistenza finché, solo e abbandonato da tutti, Josef K. accetterà di soccombere. Scritto nel 1925, capolavoro della letteratura europea, Il processo è forse il romanzo di Kafka che meglio descrive l’angosciosa condizione dell’uomo in una società divenuta ormai troppo complessa, vissuta come un meccanismo implacabile e fine a se stesso, minacciosa e indifferente a qualsiasi autentico valore.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182903, 0141194715

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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