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Episode 1

Gregor Samsa wakes one day to find himself hideously transformed into a monstrous insect. Read by Benedict Cumberbatch.

Gregor Samsa wakes one day to find himself hideously transformed into a monstrous insect. His family react with horror at his bizarre transformation but this slowly turns to revulsion - and then monstrous indifference - as he is left to quietly waste away in his bedroom.

First published in 1912, Benedict Cumberbatch reads Franz Kafka's classic novel in four parts.

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) ranks among the 20th century's most acclaimed writers. He is often cited as the author whose works best evoke the concerns and preoccupations of modern life. The world in his stories is portrayed as one in which the fantastic is entirely normal, the irrational is rational, and the unreasonable seems reasonable. As Ernst Pawel wrote in his biography of the writer, "Kafka articulates the anguish of being human."

Kafka, although Czech and living in Prague, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, spoke fluent German and Czech and actually wrote in German and thought it his mother tongue. The tensions between those who spoke German and those who spoke Czech were a direct reflection of the rise of nationalism and the quest for national identity.

Metamorphosis was translated by Richard Stokes. Abridged and produced by Gemma Jenkins.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra in 2006.

30 minutes

Last on

Tue 24 Jul 2018 00:00

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