“This fine version, with David Cronenberg’s inspired introduction and the new translator’s beguiling afterword, is, I suspect, the most disturbing though the most comforting of all so far; others will follow, but don’t hesitate: this is the transforming text for you.”—Richard Howard
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.
To Be Human
Kafka put created a challenging enigma with The Metamorphosis. Quite simply he asks us what does it mean to be human? The mechanism he uses to pose this dilemma is uniquely compelling and it’s no surprised it has been adapted many times over on various formats.
The construct of the physical change of our main character is the means by which Kafka takes us on a metaphorical existential journey through space, senses, feelings, and our brain / body connection. Demonstrating how are outward experience changes with outward appearance.
This story is deeply philosophical and begs more questions than it can ever provide answers for. Such as what part does work play in the definition of being? Is work the only place in which we desire autonomy, mastery, and purpose? Or what binds us to others beyond our physical self?