Kafka's last novel, The Castle is set in a remote village covered almost permanently in snow and dominated by a castle and its staff of dictatorial, sexually predatory bureaucrats. The novel breaks new ground in exploring the relation between the individual and power, asking why the villagers so readily submit to an authority which may exist only in their collective imagination. Published only after Kafka's death, The Castle appeared in the same decade as modernist masterpieces by Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, Mann and Proust, and is among the central works of modern literature. This new translation by prize-winning translator Anthea Bell follows the German text established by critical scholarship, and mentions manuscript variants in the notes. The detailed introduction by Ritchie Robertson, a leading Kafka scholar, explores the many meanings of this famously enigmatic novel, providing guidance without reducing the reader's freedom to make sense of this fascinating novel. In addition, the edition includes a Biographical Preface which places Kafka within the context of his time, plus an up-to-date bibliography and chronology of Kafka's life.
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About the Author
Franz Kafka was born in 1883 in Prague, where he lived most of his life. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories, including The Metamorphosis, The Judgment, and The Stoker. He died in 1924, before completing any of his full-length novels. At the end of his life, Kafka asked his lifelong friend and literary executor Max Brod to burn all his unpublished work. Brod overrode those wishes.
Ritchie Robertson is a Professor of German and a Fellow of St. John's College at the University of Oxford.
Oliver Potzsch, born in 1970, has worked for years as a scriptwriter for Bavarian television. He is a descendant of one of Bavaria's leading dynasties of executioners. Potzsch lives in Munich with his family.