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Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka was born on 3 July, 1883 b=and died on 3 June, 1924. The author of The Castle, The Trial and Amerika, he grew up in an upper middle class Jewish family in what is now the Czech Republic. He studied law at the University of Prague.

Franz’ books fused elements of realism and the fantastic and explored themes of alienation, guilt absurdity and existential anxiety.


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Franz Kafka Books

  • Investigations of a Dog

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BMGYY
    Paperback
    'If I think about it, and I have the time and inclination and capacity to do so, we dogs are an odd lot.'How does a dog see the world? How do any of us? In this playful and enigmatic story of a canine philosopher, Kafka explores the limits of knowledge. Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
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  • The Trial

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BYJKY
    Paperback
    "In the end, out of nothing at all, an enormous fabric of guilt will be conjured up." One morning Josef K. is arrested for a crime he did not commit. In fact, he is never even told the nature of the offence. His life is thrown into turmoil as he becomes enmeshed in a struggle to prove his innocence. As the confounding case unfolds, K. is ultimately powerless - battling against a remote and uncaring bureaucracy. Filled with psychological tension and disconcerting parallels with the modern world, The Trial is a dystopian masterpiece by one of Germany's greatest writers.
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  • The Trial

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: CBGNX
    Hardback
    In the end, out of nothing at all, an enormous fabric of guilt will be conjured up. One morning Josef K. is arrested for a crime he did not commit. In fact, he is never even told the nature of the offence. His life is thrown into turmoil as he becomes enmeshed in a struggle to prove his innocence. As the confounding case unfolds, K. is ultimately powerless - battling against a remote and uncaring bureaucracy. Filled with psychological tension and disconcerting parallels with the modern world, The Trial is a dystopian masterpiece by one of Germany's greatest writers. This new translation by Isabel Tucker brings one of the greatest works of modern literature to a wider audience.
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  • The Trial

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BYIFR
    Paperback
    A terrifying psychological trip into the life of one Joseph K., an ordinary man who wakes up one day to find himself accused of a crime he did not commit, a crime whose nature is never revealed to him. Once arrested, he is released, but must report to court on a regular basis--an event that proves maddening, as nothing is ever resolved. As he grows more uncertain of his fate, his personal life--including work at a bank and his relations with his landlady and a young woman who lives next door--becomes increasingly unpredictable. As K. tries to gain control, he succeeds only in accelerating his own excruciating downward spiral.
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  • The Castle

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BYIFP
    Paperback
    The Castle is the story of K., the unwanted Land Surveyor who is never to be admitted to the Castle nor accepted in the village, and yet cannot go home. As he encounters dualities of certainty and doubt, hope and fear, and reason and nonsense, K.'s struggles in the absurd, labyrinthine world where he finds himself seem to reveal an inexplicable truth about the nature of existence. Kafka began The Castle in 1922 and it was never finished, yet this, the last of his three great novels, draws fascinating conclusions that make it feel strangely complete.
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  • The Burrow

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BYIAG
    Paperback
    After Franz Kafka's death, in perhaps the most important of all acts of literary disobedience, his executor refused to agree to Kafka's wish that his great mass of unpublished fiction be destroyed. This fiction included not only The Castle and The Trial but also the amazingly varied, chilling and ingenious short works collected in The Burrow and Other Stories. These tales, some little more than a page, others much more substantial, are among the greatest works of Central European literature. They vary from the tiny and horrifying 'Little Fable' to the elaborate waking nightmares of 'Building the Great Wall of China' and the title story 'The Burrow', in which an unidentified creature describes its creation of an endlessly elaborate burrow to protect itself from unidentified enemies, but with every trap or tunnel only creating further terrors and uncertainty.
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  • Amerika

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BYIAC
    Paperback
    Karl Rossman has been banished by his parents to America, following a family scandal. There, with unquenchable optimism, he throws himself into the strange experiences that lie before him as he slowly makes his way into the interior of the great continent. Kafka's first novel (begun in 1911 and never finished) is infused with a quite un-Kafkaesque blitheness and sunniness, brought to life in this lyrical translation that returns to the original manuscript of the book.
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  • Amerika

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BWVBU
    Paperback
    `He is the greatest German writer of our time' Vladimir Nabakov After an embarrassing sexual misadventure with a servant girl, sixteen-year-old Karl Rossman is banished to America by his parents. Expected to redeem himself in the land of opportunity, Karl's youthful breeziness propels him into a series of bizarre escapades which threaten to ensnare him permanently. Though dredged with humour and optimism, Kafka's first novel bears his distinctive hallmarks, as young Karl becomes mired in an ever more unreal and oppressive system. THE CLASSIC TRANSLATION BY WILLA AND EDWIN MUIR
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  • Metamorphosis and Other Stories

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BUNLH
    Paperback
    This collection of new translations brings together the small proportion of Kafka's works that he himself thought worthy of publication. It includes Metamorphosis, his most famous work, an exploration of horrific transformation and alienation; Meditation, a collection of his earlier studies; The Judgement, written in a single night of frenzied creativity; The Stoker, the first chapter of a novel set in America and a fascinating occasional piece, and The Aeroplanes at Brescia, Kafka's eyewitness account of an air display in 1909. Together, these stories reveal the breadth of Kafka's literary vision and the extraordinary imaginative depth of his thought.
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  • Letters to Milena

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BTLTZ
    Paperback
    Franz Kafka's letters to his one-time muse, Milena Jesenska - an intimate window into the desires and hopes of the twentieth-century's most prophetic and important writer Kafka first made the acquaintance of Milena Jesenska in 1920 when she was translating his early short prose into Czech, and their relationship quickly developed into a deep attachment. Such was his feeling for her that Kafka showed her his diaries and, in doing so, laid bare his heart and his conscience. While at times Milena's 'genius for living' gave Kafka new life, it ultimately exhausted him, and their relationship was to last little over two years. In 1924 Kafka died in a sanatorium near Vienna, and Milena died in 1944 at the hands of the Nazis, leaving these letters as a moving record of their relationship.
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  • The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BSMGM
    Paperback
    Kafka, whose name has generated an adjective, is one of the best loved writers of the twentieth century. Known for his dark, enigmatic stories, for the absurd nightmares he depicts, his extraordinary imaginative depth is clear in stories from 'A Hunger Artist' to 'The Verdict'. But Kafka also wrote fizzingly funny, fresh stories, and The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man contains all the aspects of this genius: the wit and the grit; the horror and the humour; the longing and the laughing. They range from bizarre, two-sentence stories about Don Quixote to the famous brutal depiction of violence and justice that is 'In the Penal Colony'. In a nimble new translation by the acclaimed Alexander Starritt, this collection of Kafka's essential stories shows the genius at his very best.
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  • The Trial

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BMMXP
    Paperback
    On his thirtieth birthday, the bank clerk Josef K. is suddenly arrested by mysterious agents for an unspecified crime. He is told that he will be set free, but must make regular appearances at a court in the attic of a tenement building while his trial proceeds. Although he never comes to know the particulars of his case, Josef K. finds his life taken over by the opaque bureaucratic procedures and is tormented by the psychological pressures exerted by his legal nightmare. Published the year after the author's death, but written ten years earlier, The Trial is the most acclaimed of Kafka's three novels, and is both a haunting meditation on freedom and the powerlessness of the individual in the face of state power, and an ominous pre-figuration of the totalitarian excesses of the twentieth century.
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  • The Complete Novels of Kafka

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BIQTD
    Paperback
    In America Karl Rossmann is 'packed off to America by his parents' to experience Oedipal and cultural isolation. Here, ordinary immigrants are also strange, and 'America' is never quite as real as it should be. Kafka, a Czech writing in German, never acutally visited America; so, as Max Brod commented, 'the innocence of his fantasy gives this book if advanture its peculiar colour.' Both Joseph K in The Trial and K in The Castle are victims of anonymous governing forces beyond their control. Both are atomised, estranged and rootless citizens decieved by authoritarian power. Whereas Joseph K is relentlessly hunted down for a crime that remains nameless, K ceaselessly attempts to enter the castle and so belong somewhere. Together these novels may be read as powerful allegories of totalitarian government in whatever guise it appears today.
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  • The Metamorphosis

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BCVDA
    Paperback
    The Metamorphosis was first published in 1915 and is one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century. The novel is the masterpiece of Franz Kafka, who is cited as a key influence for many of today's leading authors and is one of the most influential writers of the 20th Century. Traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, wakes to find himself transformed into a large, monstrous insect-like creature. The cause of Gregor's transformation is never revealed, and as he attempts to adjust to his new condition he becomes a burden to his parents and sister, who are repelled by the horrible, verminous creature Gregor has become.
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  • The Metamorphosis

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: BAYSP
    Paperback
    Franz Kafka's 1915 novella of unexplained horror and nightmarish transformation became a worldwide classic and remains a century later one of the most widely read works of fiction in the world. It is the story of traveling salesman Gregor Samsa, who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a monstrous insect. This hugely influential work inspired George Orwell, Albert Camus, Jorge Louis Borges, and Ray Bradbury, while continuing to unsettle millions of readers. In her new translation of Kafka's masterpiece, Susan Bernofsky strives to capture both the humor and the humanity in this macabre tale, underscoring the ways in which Gregor Samsa's grotesque metamorphosis is just the physical manifestation of his longstanding spiritual impoverishment.
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  • The Burrow

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: AWRCY
    Paperback
    A superb new translation by Michael Hofmann of some of Kafka's most frightening and visionary short fiction Strange beasts, night terrors, absurd bureaucrats and sinister places abound in this collection of stories by Franz Kafka. Some are less than a page long, others more substantial; all were unpublished in his lifetime. These matchless short works range from the gleeful miniature horror 'Little Fable' to the off-kilter humour of 'Investigations of a Dog', and from the elaborate waking nightmare of 'Building the Great Wall of China' to the creeping unease of 'The Burrow', where a nameless creature's labyrinthine hiding place turns into a trap of fear and paranoia.
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  • The Complete Short Stories

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: ATOTO
    Paperback
    This volume contains all of Kafka's shorter fiction, from fragments, parables and sketches to longer tales. Together they reveal the breadth of Kafka's literary vision and the extraordinary imaginative depth of his thought. Some are well-known, others are mere jottings, observations of daily life, given artistic form through Kafka's unique perception of the world.
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  • Metamorphosis

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: ATJHE
    Paperback
    'I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.' This collection of new translations brings together the small proportion of Kafka's works that he himself thought worthy of publication. It includes Metamorphosis, his most famous work, an exploration of horrific transformation and alienation; Meditation, a collection of his earlier studies; The Judgement, written in a single night of frenzied creativity; The Stoker, the first chapter of a novel set in America and a fascinating occasional piece, and The Aeroplanes at Brescia, Kafka's eyewitness account of an air display in 1909. Together, these stories reveal the breadth of Kafka's literary vision and the extraordinary imaginative depth of his thought. This is a new series of twenty distinctive, unforgettable Penguin Classics in a beautiful new design and pocket-sized format, with coloured jackets echoing Penguin's original covers.
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  • The Castle

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: APGNN
    Paperback
    The Castle is the story of K., the unwanted Land Surveyor who is never to be admitted to the Castle nor accepted in the village, and yet cannot go home. As he encounters dualities of certainty and doubt, hope and fear, and reason and nonsense, K.'s struggles in the absurd, labyrinthine world where he finds himself seem to reveal an inexplicable truth about the nature of existence. Kafka began The Castle in 1922 and it was never finished, yet this, the last of his three great novels, draws fascinating conclusions that make it feel strangely complete.
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  • The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: AKCUN
    Paperback
    When the young salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning transformed into a monstrous insect, his shock and incomprehension are coupled with the panic of being late for work and having to reveal his appearance to family and colleagues. Although over the following weeks he gradually becomes used to this new existence confined within the bounds of the apartment, and his parents and sister adapt to living with a grotesque bug, Gregor notices that their attitudes towards him are changing and he feels increasingly alienated. One of the masterpieces of twentieth-century world literature, 'The Metamorphosis' is accompanied in this volume by a selection of other classic tales and sketches by Kafka - such as 'The Judgement', 'In the Penal Colony' and 'A Country Doctor' - all presented in a lively and meticulous new translation by Christopher Moncrieff.
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  • The Trial

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: AHHYE
    Paperback
    'Someone must have been telling tales about Josef K. for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested.' A successful professional man wakes up one morning to find himself under arrest for an offence which is never explained. The mysterious court which conducts his trial is outwardly co-operative, but capable of horrific violence. Faced with this ambiguous authority, Josef K. gradually succumbs to its psychological pressure. He consults various advisers without escaping his fate. Was there some way out that he failed to see? Kafka's unfinished novel has been read as a study of political power, a pessimistic religious parable, or a crime novel where the accused man is himself the problem. One of the iconic figures of modern world literature, Kafka writes about universal problems of guilt, responsibility, and freedom; he offers no solutions, but provokes his readers to arrive at meanings of their own. This new edition includes the fragmentary chapters that were omitted from the main text, in a translation that is both natural and exact, and an introduction that illuminates the novel and its author. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range 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, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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  • The Castle

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: AHHTS
    Paperback
    'K. kept feeling that he had lost himself, or was further away in a strange land than anyone had ever been before' A remote village covered almost permanently in snow and dominated by a castle and its staff of dictatorial, sexually predatory bureaucrats - this is the setting for Kafka's story about a man seeking both acceptance in the village and access to the castle. Kafka breaks new ground in evoking a dense village community fraught with tensions, and recounting an often poignant, occasionally farcical love-affair. He also explores the relation between the individual and power, and asks why the villagers so readily submit to an authority which may exist only in their collective imagination. Published only after Kafka's death, The Castle appeared in the same decade as modernist masterpieces by Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, Mann and Proust, and is among the central works of modern literature. This translation follows the text established by critical scholarship, and manuscript variants are mentioned in the notes. The introduction provides guidance to the text without reducing the reader's own freedom to make sense of this fascinatingly enigmatic novel. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range 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, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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  • The Metamorphosis and Other Stories

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: AHHJL
    Paperback
    'When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed into some kind of monstrous vermin.' With a bewildering blend of the everyday and the fantastical, Kafka thus begins his most famous short story, The Metamorphosis. A commercial traveller is unexpectedly freed from his dreary job by his inexplicable transformation into an insect, which drastically alters his relationship with his family. Kafka considered publishing it with two of the stories included here in a volume to be called Punishments. The Judgement also concerns family tensions, when a power struggle between father and son ends with the father passing an enigmatic judgement on the helpless son. The third story, In the Penal Colony, explores 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 in the autobiographical Letter to his Father, Kafka analyses his difficult relationship in forensic and devastating detail.
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  • Metamorphosis

    Franz Kafka

    Product Code: AGLDY
    Paperback
    WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ADAM THIRLWELL One morning, Gregor Samsa wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant insect. His family is understandably perturbed and he finds himself an outsider in his own home. In 'Metamorphosis' and the other famous stories included here, Kafka explores the confusing nature of human experience with sly wit and compelling originality.
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