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The Metamorphosis

A New Translation by Susan Bernofsky

Franz Kafka (Author), Susan Bernofsky (Translator)

With an Introduction by David Cronenberg

Overview | Inside the Book
 

“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.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • January 2014
  • ISBN 978-0-393-34709-8
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 128 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Bernofsky is one of the finest translators of German working today, and her new English version of Kafka’s most famous tale—of Gregor Samsa, the horrifying and helpless human-sized insect—distinguishes itself from previous translations in its first sentence.” — Slate

“This welcome new edition of The Metamorphosis was translated by Susan Bernofsky in a smoother, less Germanic, more contemporary voice than the Muir version most Anglophone readers remember from school, and is introduced by the master of biological horror, director David Cronenberg.” — Andrew Hultkrans, Bookforum

“Susan Bernofsky’s new, exacting translation shows just how ingenious the structure of [Metamorphosis] is, and just how difficult it is to render Kafka’s German into English. She succeeds brilliantly, however, with a vivid fidelity to Kafka’s vision, driving home the way he makes us at once sympathetic to his anti-hero, Gregor Samsa, and repulsed by him.” — Arlice Davenport, The Wichita Eagle

“Bernofsky has performed an act of magic with her translation. She's found the human inside Kafka's words—imploring and beseeching and begging, in his own quiet way, for help—and delivered him to us, in flesh and blood. It's a letter that comes more than a century too late, but it's finally been delivered. That, in a quiet and bookish way, is some kind of small act of hope.” — Paul Constant, The Stranger

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