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The Castle (Oxford World's Classics) Critical ed. Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199238286
ISBN-10: 0199238286
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author


Anthea Bell is a freelance translator and the winner of numerous awards for her work.
Ritchie Robertson is Fellow and tutor in German at St. John's College, Oxford.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Critical ed. edition (July 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199238286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199238286
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This version, like the original manuscript, ends mid-sentence. Kafka was dying of tuberculosis. An infection secondary to TB developed in his throat, making eating too painful for him, and he died of starvation at a sanatorium near Vienna. A lot of the negative reviews here refer to how unfinished the book seems, or how morbid and dreary. And even good reviews emphasize the bureaucracy primarily as a symbol of social conditions. Kafka, a Czech Jew living through WW I, who had symptoms of hypochondria before he contracted TB, (which was often fatal in those times) spent many years convalescing. He was unable to earn a living to support himself, and virtually unknown as a writer, and probably thinking of death a lot, and his inability to make a living, or stay healthy, or find meaning in his short life. I find this biographical background essential to appreciating the Castle. I understand the bureaucracy of the castle to be a metaphor for illness, as well as for society, and existential angst. Please don't let anyone you know read the book (or review it!) without knowing his background.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kafka and I have something in common: neither one of us finished this book. I really wanted to like this book. I think the dense prose and lengthy dialogue without a paragraph break got to be too much for me. It's one of those books I appreciate, but that I'm not anxious to pick up and read. The concept is fascinating. But I feel like I got the message fairly early on. The story itself was kind of dull. I stopped at page 165. I'm guessing it's more of the same: K struggles against an unknown bureaucracy, refuses to give up, he makes no progress, in fact, things get worse, and then it ends mid-sentence. But don't necessarily take my word. My most here rave about the book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book and it was definitely "Kafka"! But but but, this book is missing the last pages? It ends in the middle of a sentence so I don't really know how it ends with no more pages; the last page number is 275 and the next page is what appears to be the second page of the explanatory notes! A defective book or perhaps all of the books from this publisher are defective?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love Kafka, I really and truly do. However, I think out of all of his work this is by far the most flawed. If you are an English major you will most likely stumble across it and have to analyze it, but short of that I would stick to some of his other works, which are notable in their own right.
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By xin on February 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
I read the book when I was 22. Twenty years later, I can still feel the resonance of the feelings that I empathized from the book--why I should say that I had absorbed those feeling and they had been part of me ever since, something that sent me into sudden bursts of deep depression. Other books have intrigued me, bewildered me, left me thinking or even obsessed for days or months, but none have ever touched me as much.

Not recommended for people with weak hearts or feeble minds though.
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Format: Paperback
Not surprisingly very Kafkaesque, but with a lot of original humor. I'd like to think that while he wrote at least, Kafka was having some fun. Some of the detail even in his most depressing books is as funny as it's poignant.
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By M on October 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Hmm. How do I feel about this book?

I understand that Kafka is known for this particular kind of storytelling. Heck, we now have the word 'Kafkaesque' and its definition draws from how he did his stories.

So I started this book, and at first everything was okay. But then things really, really, really got grating. I'm not kidding you. You can only read so many instances of how our main character is frustrated at every turn by this crazy bureaucracy before you're wishing that the story would just MOVE THE EFF ON.

Now, Kafka died before he could finish this book, so I can forgive the ending a little bit. But still, the whole book can be very grating, and will only appeal to some people. Many things are unexplained, and some of the things that happen in the book are just too surreal, like K taking up with the lovely young lady who has a... really weird situation. If the point of this story was to frustrate and befuddle with no real conclusion, then Kafka pulled it off.
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Format: Paperback
Kafka is an important addition to anyone considering themselves well read. This particular work is important not only in the literary or psychological sense - it is important to political economy as well.
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