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The story of the mysterious indictment, trial, and reckoning forced upon Joseph K. in Franz Kafka's The Trial
is one of the twentieth century's master parables, reflecting the central spiritual crises of modern life. Kafka's method-one that has influenced, in some way, almost every writer of substance who followed him-was to render the absurd and the terrifying convincing by a scrupulous, hyperreal matter-of-factness of tone and treatment. He thereby imparted to his work a level of seriousness normally associated with civilization's most cherished poems and religious texts.
Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir.
“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