Daily Archives: July 18, 2013

by Franz Kafka



According to biographer Max Brod, Franz Kafka would sometimes share his short stories with pals before publication.  At these informal gatherings, Brod wrote, “humor became particularly clear.  [Kafka] himself laughed so much that there were moments when he couldn’t read any further.”  This anecdote amazes me, because if there is one adjective I would never employ to describe the short stories of Franz Kafka, it would be “humorous.”  I would opt instead for “bleak,” “absurd,” or “depressing.” 

I might make an exception for “The Metamorphosis,” because unlike the other tales in this collection, with their recurrent themes of misery and oppression, “Metamorphosis” is quite funny; there’s no denying the comic aspects of a story in which a man wakes up in bed to discover that he’s transformed overnight into an enormous bug.


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