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bookThe Metamorphosis
Die Verwandlung

Franz Kafka+
* Short story+
* Absurdist fiction+
* Slipstream+

Kurt Wolff+ Verlag, Leipzig+
Die Verwandlung (Franz Kafka)
The Metamorphosis

'''''The Metamorphosis''''' (, also sometimes translated as '''''The Transformation''''') is a novella+ by Franz Kafka+, first published in 1915+. It has been called one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied in colleges and universities across the Western world.

The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa+, waking to find himself transformed (metamorphosed+) into a large, monstrous insect+-like creature. The cause of Gregor's transformation is never revealed, and Kafka himself never gave an explanation. The rest of Kafka's novella deals with Gregor's attempts to adjust to his new condition as he deals with being burdensome to his parents and sister, who are repelled by the horrible, verminous creature Gregor has become.

One day, Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman, wakes up to find himself transformed into a giant insect (the most common translation of the German description ''ungeheures Ungeziefer'', literally "monstrous vermin"). He reflects on how dreary life as a traveling salesman is. As he looks at the wall clock, he notices that he has overslept and missed his train for work. He ponders the consequences of this delay. Gregor becomes annoyed at how his boss never accepts excuses or explanations from any of his employees no matter how hard-working they are, displaying an apparent lack of trusting abilities. Gregor's mother knocks on the door, and he answers her. She is concerned for Gregor because he is late for work, which is unorthodox for him. Gregor answers his mother and realizes that his voice has changed, but his answer is short, so his mother does not notice. His sister, Grete, to whom he is very close, then whispers through the door and begs him to open it. He tries to get out of bed but is incapable of moving his body. While trying to move, he finds that his office manager, the chief clerk, has shown up to check on him. He finally rocks his body to the floor and calls out that he will open the door shortly.

Offended by Gregor's delayed response in opening the door, the clerk warns him of the consequences of missing work. He adds that Gregor's recent performance has been unsatisfactory. Gregor disagrees and tells him that he will open the door shortly. Nobody on the other side of the door has understood a single word he had uttered as Gregor's voice has also transformed, and they conclude that he is seriously ill. Finally, Gregor manages to unlock and open the door with his mouth. He apologizes to the office manager for the delay. Horrified by Gregor's appearance, his mother faints, and the manager bolts out of the apartment. Gregor tries to catch up with him, but his father drives him back into the bedroom with a cane and a rolled newspaper. Gregor injures himself squeezing back through the doorway, and his father slams the door shut. Gregor, exhausted, falls asleep.

Gregor awakens and sees that someone has put milk and bread in his room. Initially ex The name Samsa is similar to "Kafka" in its play of vowels and consonants: "Five letters in each word. The S in the word Samsa has the same position as the K in the word Kafka. The A is in the second and fifth positions in both words."

Grete is Gregor's younger sister, who becomes his caretaker after his metamorphosis. Initially Grete and Gregor have a close relationship, but this quickly fades. While Grete initially volunteers to feed him and clean his room, she grows increasingly impatient with the burden and begins to leave his room in disarray out of spite. She plays the violin and dreams of going to the conservatory, a dream Gregor had intended to make happen; Gregor had planned on making the announcement on Christmas Eve. To help provide an income for the family after Gregor's transformation, she starts working as a salesgirl. At the end of the story, Grete's parents realize that she has become beautiful and full-figured and decide to consider finding her a husband.

Mr. Samsa is Gregor's father. After the metamorphosis, he is forced to return to work in order to support the family financially. His attitude towards his son is harsh; he regards the transformed Gregor with disgust and possibly even fear.

Mrs. Samsa is Grete and Gregor's mother. She is initially shocked at Gregor's transformation; however, she wants to enter his room. This proves too much for her, thus giving rise to a conflict between her maternal impulse and sympathy, and her fear and revulsion at Gregor's new form.

Kafka's sentences often deliver an unexpected impact just before the period – that being the finalizing meaning and focus. This is achieved from the construction of sentences in the original German, where the verbs of subordinate clauses are put at the end. For example, in the opening sentence, it is the final word, ''verwandelt'', that indicates transformation:

These constructions are not directly replicable in English, so it is up to the translator to provide the reader with the effect of the original text.

English translators have often sought to render the word ''Ungeziefer'' as "insect", but this is not strictly accurate. In Middle High German+, ''Ungeziefer'' literally means "unclean animal not suitable for sacrifice" and is sometimes used colloquially to mean "bug" – a very general term, unlike the scientific sounding "insect". Kafka had no intention of labeling Gregor as any specific thing, but instead wanted to convey Gregor's disgust at his transformation. The phrasing used by Joachim Neugroschel+ is: "Gregor Samsa found himself, in his bed, transformed into a monstrous vermin", whereas David Wyllie says" "transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin".

However, in Kafka's letter to his publisher of 25 October 1915, in which he discusses his concern about the cover illustration for the first edition, he uses the term ''Insekt'', saying: "The insect itself is not to be drawn. It is not even to be seen from a distance."

''Ungeziefer'' has sometimes been translated as "cockroach+", "dung beetle+", "beetle+", and other highly specific terms. The term "dung beetle" or ''Mistkäfer'' is, in fact, used by the cleaning lady near the end of the story, but it is not used in the narration. ''Ungeziefer'' also denotes a sense of separation between himself and his environment: he is unclean and must therefore be secluded.

Vladimir Nabokov+, who was a lepidopterist+ as well as writer and literary critic, insisted that Gregor was not a cockroach, but a beetle with wings under his shell, and capable of flight. Nabokov left a sketch annotated, "just over three feet long", on the opening page of his (heavily corrected) English teaching copy. In his accompanying lecture notes, Nabokov discusses the type of insect Gregor has been transformed into, concluding that Gregor "is not, technically, a dung beetle. He is merely a big beetle".

* 1933: Edwin and Willa Muir
* 1972: Stanley Corngold
* 1993: Joachim Neugroschel
* 1996: Stanley Appelbaum
* 1999: Ian Johnston (public domain)
** 2006: audio by David Barnes
** 2012: audio by David Richardson
** 2014: audio by Bob Neufeld
* 2002: David Wyllie
* 2007: Michael Hofmann
* 2009: Joyce Crick
* 2014: Christopher Moncrieff
* 2014: Susan Bernofsky
* 2014: John R Williams

* First print: ''Die Verwandlung''. In: ''Die Weißen Blätter+. Eine Monatsschrift.'' (The White Pages. A Monthly). ed. René Schickele+. "Jg. 2" (1915), "H. 10" (October), ps. 1177–1230.
* ''Sämtliche Erzählungen.'' paperback, ed. Paul Raabe. S. Fischer Verlag+, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg 1970. ISBN 3-596-21078-X.
* ''Drucke zu Lebzeiten''. ed. Wolf Kittler, Hans-Gerd Koch and Gerhard Neumann, S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1996, ps. 113–200.
* ''Die Erzählungen.'' (The stories) ed. Roger Herms, original version S. Fischer Verlag 1997 ISBN 3-596-13270-3
* ''Die Verwandlung''. with a commentary by Heribert Kuhn, Suhrkamp Verlag+, Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 978-3-518-18813-2. (Suhrkamp BasisBibliothek, 13: Text und Kommentar)
* ''Die Verwandlung''. Anaconda Verlag+, Köln 2005. ISBN 978-3-938484-13-5.
* ''Metamorphosis''. Hardcover, 2009 New Translation, Arcturus Publishing Limited. Forward by William Aaltonen ISBN 978-1-84837-202-3
* ''The Metamorphosis: A New Translation by Susan Bernofsky''. Paperback, 2014, W. W. Norton and Company. ISBN 978-0393347098. David Cronenberg+'s Introduction to the book was also published as "The Beetle and the Fly" in ''The Paris Review''.

There are many film versions of the story, including:
* A 1975 television film+ by Jan Němec+.
* A 1977 animated short film+ by Caroline Leaf+.
* A 1987 television film by Jim Goddard+.
* A 1993 short film+ by Carlos Atanes+.
* A 2002 feature film+ by Valery Fokin+.
* A 2004 short film by Fran Estévez+.
* A 2012 feature film+ by Chris Swanton.
* A 2013 short film by Pencho.

*Jacob M. Appel+'s ''Scouting for the Reaper'' contains a telling of the novella in which a rabbi attempts to arrange a "proper Jewish burial" for Gregor.
*Lance Olsen+'s book, ''Anxious Pleasures: A Novel After Kafka+'', retells Kafka's novella from the points of view of those inside his family and out.
*American cartoonist Robert Crumb+ drew a comic adaptation of the novella, which is included in the 1993 book ''Introducing Kafka+'', an illustrated biography of Kafka also known as ''Kafka for Beginners'', ''R. Crumb's Kafka'', or simply ''Kafka''.
*American comic artist Peter Kuper+ illustrated a graphic-novel version, first published by the Crown Publishing Group+ in 2003.
*Marc Estrin+'s debut surrealist novel, ''Insect Dreams: The Half Life of Gregor Samsa'' (2002), "resurrects Kafka's half-cockroach Gregor character" vis-à-vis the world between 1915 and 1945.
*East Press published a manga+ version of the story in 2008 as part of their Manga de Dokuha+ line.

*Steven Berkoff+ performed a stage adaptation in 1969. Berkoff's text was also used for the libretto+ to Brian Howard's 1983 opera+ ''Metamorphosis''. In 1989 Berkoff directed a Broadway+ production of a play, adapted by Berkoff, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov+ and René Auberjonois+ that opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre+.
*Another stage adaptation was performed in 2006 as a co-production between the Iceland+ic company Vesturport+ and the Lyric Hammersmith+, adapted and directed by Gísli Örn Garðarsson and David Farr+, with a music soundtrack performed by Nick Cave+ and Warren Ellis. It was also performed at the Sydney Theatre Company+ as part of a world tour in 2009 and returned to the Lyric Hammersmith in January 2013, starring Garðarsson as Gregor Samsa.
*An adapted stage production was devised and directed by Samara Hersch as part of the Helium Season for the Malthouse Theatre+ in October 2014.

*A radio drama, combining ''Metamorphosis'' with Dr. Seuss+ performed by David Rakoff+ and Jonathan Goldstein+ and produced by Jonathan Goldstein and Mira Burt-Wintonick+ with Cristal Duhaime, was broadcast in 2008, on CBC Radio One+'s program ''Wiretap+'' in 2008. In 2012, it was broadcast on ''This American Life+''
*In 2015, BBC Radio 4+ adapted the novella for radio to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its publication with the story being read by actor Benedict Cumberbatch+.
* 2011 'The Meowmorphosis' was released by Quirk Books+ as part of the ''Quirk Classics'' series; a 'mash-up' retelling by Coleridge Cook, where Gregor Samsa wakes up as an adorable kitten, instead of a hideous insect.

*In ''The Simpsons+'' book ''Treehouse of Horror Spook-tacular'', Matt Groening+ included a spoof+ of ''The Metamorphosis'', entitled "Metamorphosimpsons".
*In the ''Home Movies+'' episode "Director's Cut", Brendon and the crew produce a rock opera+ adaptation of the novella.
*In Jhonen Vasquez+'s comic book series ''Johnny the Homicidal Maniac+'', "Mr. Samsa" is the name given by Johnny to a series of normal cockroaches that live in his basement, which he believes to be a single immortal cockroach that he must repeatedly kill. To Johnny, Mr. Samsa represents complete desensitization and unemotional thinking, a state for which Johnny begins a quest at the end of the series. The insects are normal bugs with no ties to the supernatural entities in the series.
*In ''The Real Ghostbusters+'' episode "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster", the Ghostbusters+' receptionist Janine Melnitz+, running off a list of calls about supernatural menaces, says that "some guy named Samsa said he's been possessed by a giant cockroach". In the episode "The Crawler" of the follow-up series ''Extreme Ghostbusters+'', a giant demon+ insectoid+ creature who assumes human form gives himself the name Gregor Samsa.
* The 1995 short film ''Franz Kafka's It's a Wonderful Life+'' by Peter Capaldi+ tells the story of a author trying to write the opening line of ''The Metamorphosis'' and experimenting with various things that Gregor might turn into, such as a banana or a kangaroo. The short is also notable for a number of Kafkaesque+ moments. It won the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film+.
*There are references to ''The Metamorphosis'' in the manga+ ''Tokyo Ghoul+'' by Sui Ishida+.
*In Mel Brooks+' film ''The Producers+'', the protagonists are attempting to bring their scheme to fruition by staging the worst play ever written. While flipping through various scripts, one of them begins reading, "One morning, Gregor Samsa awoke to find he had been transformed into a giant cockroach." After a moment's consideration, he throws the script aside while saying, "Nah, it's too good"
*In Mel Brooks' film ''Spaceballs+'', during the climax of the comedy, when Spaceball-1 transforms into Mega-Maid, the main antagonist Dark Helmet leans towards Colonel Sandurz and asks "Ready, Kafka?".
*In the 2006 animated film ''Flushed Away+'', a stove falls through the floor of a house to show an annoyed cockroach sitting behind it, reading a French translation of Kafka's ''The Metamorphosis''.
* The 2002 anthology ''Dreaming of Angels'', edited by Monica J. O'Rourke and Gord Rollo, contains a short story titled "Mickeymorphosis", in which the main character awakens to discover that he's turned into Mickey Mouse.
*The song "Let Down" from ''OK Computer+'' by the English band Radiohead+ makes references to the novella.
* 2007's ''Kockroach+'', by William Lashner+ under the name "Tyler Knox", inverts the premise by transforming a cockroach into a human; Lashner has stated that ''The Metamorphosis'' is "the obvious starting point for" ''Kockroach'', and that his choice of pseudonym was made in honor of Josef K (of Kafka's ''The Trial+'')., by Rob Hart, at; published March 1, 2010; retrieved March 10, 2015


'''Online editions'''
* at (text, pdf, HTML) de icon:
* , translated 2009 by Ian Johnston of Malaspina University-College+, Nanaimo, BC+
* , translated by David Wyllie+



German literature:

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The Metamorphosis+ The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung, also sometimes translated as The Transformation) is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It has been called one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied in colleges and universities across the Western world.
 The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect+ The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect is a 1994 novella by Roger Williams, a programmer living in New Orleans.
 The Metamorphosis Melody+ The Metamorphosis Melody is the third studio album by the German Gothic/folk metal band Midnattsol. It was released in 2011 on Napalm Records.
The O.C. (season 4)+ The fourth and final season of The O.C., an American teen drama television series, aired in the United States from November 2, 2006 to February 22, 2007 and consisted of sixteen episodes.
 Metamorphosis of Narcissus+ Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937) is an oil-on-canvas painting by the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí.
Metamorphoses+ The Metamorphoses (Latin: Metamorphōseōn librī: "Books of Transformations") is a Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus.
The Golden Ass+ The Metamorphoses of Apuleius — which St. Augustine referred to as The Golden Ass (Asinus aureus) — is the only Ancient Roman novel in Latin to survive in its entirety.