Translated by PEN translation award-winner Joachim Neugroschel, The Metamorphosis, In the Penal Colony, and Other Stories has garnered critical acclaim and is widely recognized as the preeminent English-language anthology of Kafka's stories. These translations illuminate one of this century's most controversial writers and have made Kafka's work accessible to a whole new generation. This classic collection of forty-one great short works -- including such timeless pieces of modern fiction as "The Judgment" and "The Stoker" -- now includes two new stories, "First Sorrow" and "The Hunger Artist."
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|Title of eBook: Metamorphosis, In The Penal Colony and Other Stories|
|Release Date: 06-15-2010|
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Metamorphosis, In The Penal Colony and Other Stories
"Our grandparents spoke Yiddish, our parents spoke German, and those of us who are left speak Czech."
That statement by a Prague Jew sums up the linguistic and cultural history of not only the Prague Jews but, by extension, the vast majority of European Jews since the end of the eighteenth century. During this period, the various Jewish communities in Europe and its colonies have passed from Jewish languages to a few simultaneous and/or sequential non-Jewish languages and perhaps ultimately back (or forward) to Hebrew in Israel. Outside Israel, this process has shifted the Jews from an ethnic category with a core religion and multiple Jewish subcultures (Ashkenazi, Sephardic, etc.) to a religious category whose various communities are scattered through many countries, where they are largely assimilating into the local non-Jewish cultures.
Franz Kafka was born in Prague at the end of the nineteenth century, and for most of his lifetime Bohemia and Moravia belonged to Austria-Hungary -- until 1919, five years before Kafka's death in 1924. During that era, the Jews in Prague, like many Jews within the Dual Monarchy and most Jews in the German empire, were discarding Yiddish in favor of German, the language of the dominant culture, while holding on to their own religious practices and identities. Parallel developments were taking place wherever Jews were, in fact, allowed to assimilate into the language and culture -- especially throughout Western Europe, but far less so in the tsarist empire.
This process of what I would like to call "reacculturation" began when Napoleon offered French citizenship, nationality, and complete civil rights to the Jews in France: they wou...