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The Metamorphosis, In The Penal Colony, and Other Stories Paperback – May 22, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition. first thus edition (May 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684800705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684800707
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Harold Bloom author of Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human Joachim Neugroschel's version is an advance over previous translations of Kafka into English.

Joseph Coates Chicago Tribune In Neugroschel's version we see more of Kafka's meaning, his unexpected comedy....In this version, we have for the first time the sense of understanding Kafka's complexity and where it might lead us.

Ronald Hayman author of K: A Biography of Kafka and Proust Joachim Neugroschel has provided something that was badly needed -- an accurate translation of Kafka's stories into English. Kafka is difficult to translate, and the version we all know -- by Edwin and Willa Muir -- is full of mistakes. Neugroschel's translation is much closer to Kafka's German.

Václav Havel In Kafka, I have found a portion of my own experience of the world, of myself, and of my way of being in the world.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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I sometimes think Kafka is as much poetry as prose.
Sheila Dreckman
He is the dirty secret, the problem child, the social stigma they could do without, thank you very much.
Sandy Carlson
This book contains a great selection of Kafka's most well known and best short stories.
7Deuce

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sheila Dreckman on May 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have read three translations of the Metamorphosis and this one is definitely the best. I love Kafka. I read his stuff again and again. And I certainly am not an "high blown intellectual." I am a 68 year old mother of 8 and grandmother of 13. I did not discover Kafka until last year, though it had been in my library for 30 years. You know, one of those books you were supposed to read but felt deep down it would probably be boring. I should have read it years ago, but better late than never. I know lots of people like Gregor, they attach themselves to you and bleed you dry and all the while doing what's "good for you." I sometimes think Kafka is as much poetry as prose. He's on my top 10 writers.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By mstew@worldnet.att.net on August 28, 1997
Format: Paperback
Few translators can capture the sly humor of Kafka's "Metamorphosis" in the manner of Neugrol. Grimness becomes hilarious in the most modern fashion. Kafka has never been more accessible
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By 7Deuce on August 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains a great selection of Kafka's most well known and best short stories. Of all the stories, the Penal Colony is a must read for political and sociological scholars, and really for anyone concerned with the state of society. The parallels between treatment of prisoners in Kafka's penal colony and America's treatment of "enemy" detainees during the Bush era are fascinating and scary.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Carlson on April 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
The most poignant moment of Franz Kafka's 1915 novella The Metamorphosis occurs when the narrator remarks that nobody thought to open Gregor's bedroom door to see him, though the door was now unlocked. In time, Gregor no longer wishes to emerge from his room, to be seen. All connection with his family and his former self is lost.

Gregor the travelling salesman had gotten into the habit of keeping his door locked, even at home. He became private to the point of being paranoid. Gregor the absentee member of the Samsa household--albeit the breadwinner--is unknown to his sister Grete and to his parents. The loss doesn't quite register with them.

This is the story of the man who wakes up as a bug. He literally embodies his emotional and psychological perception of himself: that he is vermin. He has become his own self-loathing. As this reality settles into his mind, he hopes his family will in some way respond to his need, to feed the unnameable hunger that gnaws at him throughout this ordeal.

Instead, they turn away. He is the dirty secret, the problem child, the social stigma they could do without, thank you very much. The father beats him back into his room every time he emerges. His mother lacks the emotional fortitude to face the situation and faints instead. Grete, his sister, feeds him and cleans his room until he reaches out for her in his buggy way--by creeping toward her while she is playing the violin for lodgers.

Gregor's financial control of the family plays a role in the neurosis that afflicts each member. Not until he is free of their control can they realize their potential.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on February 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a splendid initiation into the warped imagination of Franz Kafka. In one swoop the reader gets the infamous Freudian "Metamorphosis" as well as some of Kafka's other macabre short stories.
Perhaps the best of these is "In the Penal Colony." It reads like Michel Foucault's "Discipline And Punish" on acid. It is almost like a satire on what Hegel liked to refer to as the "slaughterhouse of history." The story is at once terrifying and grotesquely comical.
The rest of the stories are typical Kafka; perverse but fascinating. For those who have a morose fascination with ghastly world of this author's literary fantasy, this is an exceptional book to begin with.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I give 4 stars for the quality of the book, which is almost brand new! But I give 5 stars for The metamorphosis as a book! I don't think I've read any book that starts with the main character waking up as a bug. I could tell that author was at the height of anxiety and he demonstrated it through his portrayal of Gregor, the protagonist. His ramblings and contemplations are far-fetched and I found it disturbing to read at times. The fact that his family got better only after Gregor's death was very poignant. I did sympathize with Gregor at times especially when he leaned on the wall to listen to what his family says about him (unfortunately, wasn't a positive one).
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Format: Paperback
It is difficult to review this collection as a whole, because it includes stories spanning Kafka's literary career which are widely different both stylistically and in terms of content. At the same time, I don't want to review each story separately, particularly since there really isn't that much to say about quite a few of them. So I will try to strike a middle ground and just say a few words about each of the most significant stories.

My favorite is probably "The Stoker". It is, perhaps not coincidentally, the most realistic, least "Kafkaesque" of them, almost like something Joseph Conrad might have written. It tells of a young man traveling to America who tries to help a stoker on the ship seek justice from the captain against his boss, who he claims gives preferential treatment to his own countrymen. During the interview with the captain, however, the young man is recognized and carted off by his uncle, an American senator. The story is described as "a fragment", though it is fairly complete in itself (indeed frankly one of the least fragmentary stories here). But though published separately, it was actually the first chapter of Kafka's unfinished novel, Amerika.

Then there is "In the Penal Colony". It is also quite realistic for Kafka, perhaps excessively so, as it becomes almost surreal in its sheer gruesome brutality.
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