Unsettling, thought-provoking, yet with frequent ﬂashes of humour, Kafka's novels have left an indelible mark on modern literature.
The Castle, Kafka's final novel, is about a man who is caught between two types of society, both equally alienating. The protagonist K., a land surveyor, has been summoned to a castle, located in a snowy nowhere-land. Yet the castle is closed to him and there is no record of him being summoned – his entire presence there, it seems, is due to a bureaucratic error. The count who sent the summons is never seen; the castle is ﬁlled with clerks ﬁling documents, issuing diktats and seducing the women of the village. K. seems doomed to remain an outsider in the village and yet is excluded from the castle. In his introduction to this edition, John Sutherland observes that Kafka was the ﬁrst, and greatest, writer to dramatise the shift in European society from feudal, familial ‘community’ (the village) to rational ‘bureaucracy’ (the castle).
This Folio Society edition is illustrated by Bill Bragg. It uses the acclaimed translation by Mark Harman, based on the original manuscript and hailed by J.M. Coetzee as 'the translation of preference for some time to come.'
'Kafka may be the most important writer of the twentieth century.'
Read more about the life and work of Franz Kafka