When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. With this startling, bizarre, yet surprisingly funny first sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young man who, transformed overnight into a giant beetlelike insect, becomes an object of disgrace to this family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man.
A harrowing — though absurdly comic — meditation on human feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and isolation, The Metamorphosis has taken its place as one of the most widely read and influential works of twentieth-century fiction. As W.H. Auden wrote, “Kafka is important to us because his predicament is the predicament of modern man.”
This edition is translated and edited by Stanley Corngold, with generous critical materials including essays, notes, and selections from Kafka’s letters and diaries.