The Trial – Franz Kafka
Download The Trial ebook. The Trial (original German title: Der Process, later Der Prozess, Der Proceß and Der Prozeß) is a novel written by Franz Kafka between 1914 and 1915 and published posthumously in 1925. One of his best-known works, it tells the story of a man arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority, with the nature of his crime revealed neither to him nor to the reader. Heavily influenced by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov, Kafka even went so far as to call Dostoyevsky a blood relative. Like Kafka’s other novels, The Trial was never completed, although it does include a chapter which brings the story to an end.
After Kafka’s death in 1924 his friend and literary executor Max Brod edited the text for publication by Verlag Die Schmiede. The original manuscript is held at the Museum of Modern Literature, Marbach am Neckar, Germany. The first English language translation, by Willa and Edwin Muir, was published in 1937. In 1999, the book was listed in Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century and as No. 2 of the Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century.
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.
“This short novel has passed into far more than classical literary status . . . Countless are those who have not read it but who are familiar with its main outline and situations . . . In more than one hundred languages, the epithet ‘kafkaesque’ attaches to the constants of inhumanity and absurdity in our times . . . In this diffusion of the kafkaesque into so many recesses of our private and public existence, The Trial plays a commanding role.”
–from the Introduction by George Steiner
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Franz Kafka[a] (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was a German-speaking Bohemian Jewish novelist and short story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work, which fuses elements of realism and the fantastic, typically features isolated protagonists faced by bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible social-bureaucratic powers, and has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity.
His best known works include “Die Verwandlung” (“The Metamorphosis”), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those in his writing.
Kafka was born into a middle-class, German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today part of the Czech Republic. He trained as a lawyer, and after completing his legal education he was employed by an insurance company, forcing him to relegate writing to his spare time. Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote hundreds of letters to family and close friends, including his father, with whom he had a strained and formal relationship. He became engaged to several women but never married. He died in 1924 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis.
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