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'Someone must have been telling tales about Josef K. for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested.'A successful professional man wakes up one morning to find himself under arrest for an offence which is never explained. The mysterious court which conducts his trial is outwardly co-operative, but capable of horrific violence. Faced with this ambiguous authority, Josef K. gradually succumbs to itspsychological pressure. He consults various advisers without escaping his fate. Was there some way out that he failed to see? Kafka's unfinished novel has been read as a study of political power, a pessimistic religious parable, or a crime novel where the accused man is himself the problem.One of the iconic figures of modern world literature, Kafka writes about universal problems of guilt, responsibility, and freedom; he offers no solutions, but provokes his readers to arrive at meanings of their own. This new edition includes the fragmentary chapters that were omitted from the maintext, in a translation that is both natural and exact, and an introduction that illuminates the novel and its author.
Mike Mitchell taught at the universities of Reading and Stirling before becoming a full-time literary translator. He is the co-author of Harrap's German Grammar and the translator of numerous works of German fiction for which he has been eight times shortlisted for prizes; his translation of Rosendorfer's Letters Back to Ancient China won the Schlegel-Tieck Prize in 1998. He translated Rodenbach's The Bells of Bruges for Dedalus in 2007. Ritchie Robertson is the author of the Very Short Introduction to Kafka. For Oxford World's Classics he has translated Hoffmann's The Golden Pot and Other Stories and introduced editions of Freud and Schnitzler. He is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann.