Books

The Burrow

Franz Kafka (and others)

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 Some are less than a page long, others more substantial; all were unpublished in his lifetime.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.

Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka

'I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.'

Featuring an ordinary man who wakes up to find himself turned into a giant cockroach, Kafka's masterpiece of unease and black humour, Metamorphosis, is brought together here with the best of his short stories.

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.

The Castle

Franz Kafka (and others)

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.

Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Franz Kafka (and others)

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.

The Trial

Franz Kafka

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.

Amerika

Franz Kafka

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.

The Zurau Aphorisms

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka spent eight months at his sister's house in Zürau between September 1917 and April 1918, enduring the onset of tuberculosis. Illness paradoxically set him free to write, in a series of philosophical fragments, his settling of accounts with life, marriage, his family, guilt and man's condition. These aphorisms have appeared with minor revisions in various posthumous works since his death in 1924. By chance, Roberto Calasso rediscovered Kafka's two original notebooks in Oxford's Bodleian Library.

The notebooks, freshly translated and laid out as Kafka intended, are a distillation of Kafka at his most powerful and enigmatic. This lost jewel provides the reader with a fresh perspective on the work of a genius.

In the Penal Colony

Franz Kafka

'The condemned man looked so doggishly submissive, it really seemed as if one might allow him to roam the slopes freely, and only needed to whistle when it was time for the execution, and he would come.'

Kafka transformed the possibilities of the short story, his unique imagination giving his dark tales a sense of dream-like logic and unreality, in which their horrors are humorous and unease pervades. In these two stories, a traveller is shown the workings of an elaborate machine with a bloody purpose, and a son awakens unimagined resentments in his father.

This book includes In the Penal Colony and The Judgement.

The Complete Novels Of Kafka

Franz Kafka (and others)

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.

The Great Wall of China

Franz Kafka (and others)

Drawing directly on original manuscripts, this collection comprises the major short stories published after Kafka’s death. It includes The Great Wall of China, Blumfeld, An Elderly Bachelor, Investigations of a Dog and his great sequences of aphorisms, with fables and parables on subjects ranging from the legend of Prometheus to the Tower of Babel. Allegorical, disturbing and possessing a dream-like clarity, these writings are quintessential Kafka.

The Trial

Franz Kafka (and others)

The terrifying tale of Joseph K, a respectable functionary in a bank, who is suddenly arrested and must defend his innocence against a charge about which he can get no information. A nightmare vision of the excesses of modern bureaucracy wedded to the mad agendas of twentieth-century totalitarian regimes.

Collected Stories

Franz Kafka

Kafka was an obsessive writer who produced a huge volume of stories, novels, diaries and letters in his brief lifetime. The present volume includes all his available shorter fiction in a new collection edited and introduced by Gabriel Josipovici. The stories, which range from tiny fragments to substantial narratives, have been arranged both to illuminate one another and to illustrate Kafka's evolution as a writer - which, as Professor Josipovici shows, is more complex and radical than often thought. The extensive prefatory essay is an introduction not only to the stories but also to Kafka's work as a whole.

The Trial

Franz Kafka

The story of the mysterious indictment, trial and reckoning forced upon Kafka’s Joseph K. is one of the twentieth century’s master parables which has influenced almost every major writer since. By rendering the absurd and the terrifying with scrupulous factual accuracy and evenness of tone, Kafka presents the world we recognize in a gripping narrative which is also a revelation of its hidden significance.

Letters To Felice

Franz Kafka

Kafka's letters to Felice Bauer were written between 1912 and 1917, during which time they were twice engaged to be married. This complex relationship, which coincided with a period of great productivity for Kafka, gave him both hope and strength, but gradually disllusionment and the onset of illness drove them apart. These letters remain as a monument to the inner life of a creative artist.

Letters To Milena

Franz Kafka (and others)

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.

Milena, for her part, was passionate and intrepid, cool and intelligent in her decisions but reckless when her emotions were involved. Kafka once described her as living her life 'so intensely down to such depths'. If she did suffer through him, it was part of her great appetite for life.

However 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. Kafka died in 1944 at the hands of the Nazis - these letters are a moving record of their relationship.

The Complete Short Stories

Franz Kafka

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.

Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Franz Kafka (and others)

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.

America

Franz Kafka (and others)

The story of Karl Rossman who, after an embarrassing sexual misadventure with a servant girl, is banished to America by his parents. Expected to redeem himself in the magical land of opportunity, he instead gets swept up in a whirlwind of strange escapades and dizzying adventures.

The Castle

Franz Kafka (and others)

The story of K and his arrival in a village where he is never accepted, and his relentless, unavailing struggle with authority in order to gain entrance to the castle that seems to rule it. K's isolation and perplexity, his begging for the approval of elusive and anonymous powers, epitomises Kafka's vision of twentieth-century alienation and anxiety.

Biography

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was born of Jewish parents in Prague. Several of his story collections were published in his lifetime and his novels, The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika, were published posthumously by his editor Max Brod.