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  • Published: 17 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241372593
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $16.99

The Burrow

Posthumously Published Short Fiction




A superb translation by Michael Hofmann of some of Kafka's most frightening, strange and visionary short fiction

After Franz Kafka's death, in perhaps the most important of all acts of literary disobedience, his executor refused to agree to Kafka's wish that his great mass of unpublished fiction be destroyed. This fiction included not only The Castle and The Trial but also the amazingly varied, chilling and ingenious short works collected in The Burrow and Other Stories. These tales, some little more than a page, others much more substantial, are among the greatest works of Central European literature. They vary from the tiny and horrifying 'Little Fable' to the elaborate waking nightmares of 'Building the Great Wall of China' and the title story 'The Burrow', in which an unidentified creature describes its creation of an endlessly elaborate burrow to protect itself from unidentified enemies, but with every trap or tunnel only creating further terrors and uncertainty.

  • Published: 17 September 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241372593
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $16.99

About the author

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka (1883–1924) was born into a Jewish family in Prague. In 1906 he received a doctorate in jurisprudence, and for many years he worked a tedious job as a civil service lawyer investigating claims at the State Worker's Accident Insurance Institute. He never married, and published only a few slim volumes of stories during his lifetime. Meditation, a collection of sketches, appeared in 1912; The Stoker: A Fragment in 1913; Metamorphosis in 1915; The Judgement in 1916; In the Penal Colony in 1919; and A Country Doctor in 1920. The great novels were not published until after his death from tuberculosis: America, The Trial and The Castle.

Also by Franz Kafka

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Praise for The Burrow

Hofmann, with his taste for mischief, makes Kafka, often translated in a buttoned-up key, a writer capable of blending old-fashioned literary parlance and contemporary media-speak... the modern touches also emphasise the timelessness of Kafka's themes, the horror of institutions being just one of them.

Anna Aslanyan, Financial Times

Kafka's posthumously published short fiction cry out for a critical exegesis... newly translated by Michael Hofmann, the stories collected in The Burrow mingle dark comedy with a proto-surrealist intent to unsettle...excellent new translations

Ian Thomson, New Statesman

A superb translation... alerts us to the strangeness of Kafka's world - often funnier or happier than we give it credit for - without using the word "Kafkaesque", which should be retired as it now means little more than "frustratingly bureaucratic". Kafka's world is richer, and more rewarding than that.

Nick Lezard, Guardian

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