Die Verwandlung

AUCTION 6 | Tuesday, November 17th, 1998 at 1:00
Fine Judaica: Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art The Property of Various Owners

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Lot 156

Die Verwandlung

FIRST EDITION Original pictorial wrappers, covers lightly stained, extremeties touch worn. 8vo

Leipzig: Kurt Wolff (1915)

Est: $1,200 - $1,800
First Edition of The Metamorphosis. Kafka insisted on keeping the insect image from the cover illustration and thereby leaving its rendering to the reader’s imagination. Despite an assimilated upbringing in late19th-century Prague, Franz Kafka’s writing style and narrative content often contained a distinctive Jewish character. As the literary critic Robert Alter has noted: “Kafka was inclined to see the imperious authoritarianism of his father as a living enactment of the awesome imposition of a regimen of commandments, a revelation of binding law without the underwriting of a divine lawgiver. In his writing, he would ponder again and again the imperative authority of the law, its possible arbitrariness, the necessity of constant interpretation it imposed, the impossibility of living without it.” (The Jewish Voice, in: Commentary, October 1995, pp.39-45). In his adulthood, Kafka turned toward Jewish studies in his elusive search for his core identity. He struck up friendships with members of the Yiddish Theater, developed a fascination with Chassidism, and attended lectures at the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. Kafka even contemplated emigrating to Eretz Israel in the early 1920’s (studying Hebrew with the poet Jirí Langer, in preparation) before succumbing to tuberculosis in 1924