Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!
This collection brings together the small proportion of Kafka's works that he thought worthy of publication. It includes Metamorphosis, his most famous work, an exploration of horrific transformation and alienation; Meditation, a collection of his earlier studies; The Judgement, written in a single night of frenzied creativity; The Stoker, the first chapter of a novel set in America and a fascinating occasional piece, The Aeroplanes at Brescia, Kafka's eyewitness account of an air display in 1909. Together, these stories reveal the breadth of Kafka's literary vision and the extraordinary imaginative depth of his thought.
About The Author
Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was born of Jewish parents in Prague. Several of his story collections were published in his lifetime and his novels, The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika, were published posthumously by his editor Max Brod.
THE AEROPLANES AT BRESCIA
La Sentinella Bresciana of pSeptember1909
reports, and is delighted to do so: 'In Brescia we have a concourse of
people such as never before, not even at the time of the great
motor-car races; visitors from Venetia, Liguria, Piedmont, Tuscany,
Rome, indeed even from as far as Naples; distinguished pelSORS from
France, England, America; all are jostling in our squares, in our
hotels, in every spare corner of our private houses; all the prices are
rising splendidly; the means of transport are inadequate to bring the
crowds to the circuito aero;the restaurants on the
airfield could serve two thousand people admirably, but so many
thousands are bound to defeat them; troops would be needed to protect
the buffets; in the cheap areas of the field there are 50,000
spectators standing all day long.'
Reading these accounts, my two friends and I are filled with both
confidence and alarm. Confidence: for where there is such a terrible
crush everything tends to proceed in an agreeably democratic way, and
where there is no space at all one has no need to look for it.
Alarm:alarm about the Italian mode of organizing such enterprises,
alarm about the committees that will concern themselves with our
welfare, alarm about the trains, of which the Sentinella has
tales of four-hour delays to tell.
All expectations are false; somehow all Italian memories become
confused once one is back home; they lose their clarity, one can no
longer depend on them.
As our train enters the dark hole of Brescia station, where people
are yelling as if the ground was burning under their feet, we arc still
solemnly exhorting one another to stick together whatever happens. Are
we not arriving with a sort of hostility?
We get off the train; a cab, barely able to stay on its wheels,
receives us; the coachman is in very good humour; we drive through
almost empty streets to the Palace of the Committee, where our inward
malice is passed over as if it did not exist; we are told all that we
need. The inn to which we are directed appears at first sight to be the
dirtiest we have ever seen, but soon it is not so excessively bad. A
dirt which is simply there and is no longer spoken of, a dirt which
never alters, which has put down roots, which makes human life somehow
more solid and earthy, a dirt out of the midst of which our host comes
hurrying, proud in himself, humble towards us, with his elbows in
constant motion and his hands (each finger is a compliment) casting
ever-changing shadows over his face, with incessant bowings from the
waist that we all recognize later, for example in Gabriele d' Annunzio,
on the airfield; who, one must ask, could still have anything against a
dirt such as this.
The airfield is in Montechiari, and can be reached in less than an
hour by the local railway that goes to Mantua. This local railway has
reserved for itself a track on the public highway, along which it runs
its trains in modest fashion, no higher and no lower than the rest of
the traffic, among the bicyclists, pedalling into the dust with their
eyes almost closed, among the completely useless carriages of the
entire province -which accept as many passengers as you please, and get
along fast as weIl, it passes all understanding -and among the often
gigantic motor-cars which, once let loose, seem positively determined
toturn over at once, with their manifold hootings that merge at
such speed into one simple blare.
Sometimes all hope of reaching the circuito in this
misersble train deserts one completely. But all around us in the train
people are laughing, and from right and left people are laughing into
the train. I am standing on an end platform, pressed against a huge man
who stands with his legs astride two carriages, over the buffers, in a
shower of soot and dust that comes from the gently shaking carriage
roofs. Twice the train stops to wait for an oncoming train, so
patiently and so long that it might be just waiting for a chance
encounter. A few villages move slowly past, screaming posters of the
last motor-car race-meeting appear here and there on the walls, all the
plants by the roadside are unrecognizable under the oIive-leaf colour
that the white dust gives them.
Since it can go no further the train finally stops. A group of
motor-cars brake at the same time; through the dust that swirls up we
can see, not far off, a lot of little flags waving; we are still held
up by a herd of cattle that comes, wildly excited, dipping in and out
of the hillocky ground, simply charging into the motor-cars.
We have arrived. In front of the aerodrome there extends a large
open space with suspicious-looking little wooden huts, on which we
would have expected to see other notices than: Garage, Grand Buffet
International, etc. Immense beggars, grown fat in their go-carts,
stretch out their arms in our path, one feels tempted to jump over
them. We overtake a great number of people and are overtaken by a great
number. We look up in the air, which is after all the thing that
matters here. Thank heavens, no one is flying yet! We make way for no
one and still we don't get run over. Between and behind the thousands
of vehicles, and coming towards them, there bounces Italian cavalry.
Order and accidents seem equally impossible.
Once in Brescia late in the evening we wanted to get rapidly to a
certain street, which in our opinion waa a fairly long way off. A
cabdriver demands 3 lire, we offer two. The cab-driver refuses the
fare, and simply out of friendliness he describes to us the positively
horrific remoteness of this street. We begin to feel ashamed of our
offer. All right then, 3 lire. We climb in, three turns of the cab
through short streets and we have got to the place we wanted. Otto,
more energetic than we two others, declares that he naturally hasn't
the faintest intention of giving 3 lire for the journey that has lasted
a minute. One lira was more than enough. He could have this lira. It is
already dark, the little street is empty, the cab-driver is powerful.
He becomes excited at once, as if the argument had been going on for an
hour: What? -That was a swindle. -What on earth were we thinking of. -3
lire had been agreed, 3 lire must be paid, out with 3 lire or he'd give
us something to think about. Otto: 'The tariff or the poIice!' Tariff?
There was no tariff. -How could there be a tariff for that? -It had
been an agreement about a night journey, but if we gave him 2 lire he'd
let us go. Otto, fit to terrify: 'The tariff or the police!' Some
further screaming and searching, then a tariff is fished out, on which
nothing is to be seen save dirt. So we agree on1 lira50 and
the cabbie drives on up the narrow street, in which he can't turn, not
just furiously but sorrowfully, too, as it seems to me. For our conduct
has unfortunately not been the correct one; one cannot behave like that
in Italy; it may be all right elsewhere, but not here. Ah well, who can
reflect on that in the heat of the moment! There's nothing to complain
about, one simply cannot become an Italian in the course of a brief
But remorse shall not mar our joy on the airfield, that would only
bring fresh remorse, and into the aerodrome we spring rather than waIk,
with that inspiration of every limb which sometimes takes hold of us
here, one after the other, under this sun.
We come past the hangars, which stand there with their curtains
drawn like the closed stages of travelling players. On their pediments
stand the names of the aviators whose machines they conceal, and above
them the flags of their homelands. We read the names Cobianchi, Cagno,
Calderara, Rougier, Curtiss, Moncher (a Tirolean from Trento who flies
under Italian colours, he trusts them more than ours), Anzani, Club of
the Roman Aviators. And BIeriot? we ask. BIeriot, of whom we
have been thinking all the time, where is Bleriot?
In the fenced-off space in front of his hangar Rougier is running up
and down in his shirt-sleeves, a short man with a striking nose. He
flings his arms out with violent gestures, pats himself all over as he
goes, sends his mechanics behind the curtain of the hangar, calls them
back, goes in himself, driving all before him, while to one side his
wife, in a tight-fitting white dress, a little black hat pressed firmly
into her hair, her legs in their short skirt set delicately apart,
gazes into the empty heat, a businesswoman with all the cares of
business in her little head.
In front of the next hangar sits Curtiss, all alone. Through the
slightly lifted curtains his machine is visible; it is bigger than
people say. As we walk past, Curtiss is holding up the New York
Herald in front of him and reading a line at the top of one page;
after half an hour we come past again, he bas already reached the
middle of this page; after a further half hour he bas finished the page
and is beginning a new one. Evidently he isnot going to fly today.
We turn round and see the wide airfield. It is so big that
everything upon it seems abandoned: the winning-post close to us, the
signal mast in the distance, the launching catapult somewhere on the
right, the committee motor-car, which describes a curve across the
field with its little yellow flag drawn taut in the wind, comes to a
halt in its own dust, and drives off again.
An artificial wasteland has been created here in an almost tropical
region, and the high nobility of Italy, glittering ladies from Paris
and all the other thousands are here assembled, to look for hours on
end with narrowed eyes into this sunny waste. Here there is nothing of
the kind that lends variety to sports fields otherwise. The pretty
jumps of the race-meetings are lacking, so too are the white markings
of the tennis-courts, the fresh turf of the foothall matches, the stony
up and down of the motor-car and bicycle race-tracks. Only two or three
times during the afternoon a squadron of colourful cavalry trots across
the plain. The hooves of the horses are invisible in the dust, the even
light of the sun does not change until nearly five o'clock. And so that
nothing should disturb us as we observe this plain there is no music of
any kind, only the whistling of the masses in the cheap standing areas
tries to meet the requirements of our ears and our impatience. Seen
from the more expensive stands that lie behind us, however, no doubt
that mass of people melts indistinguishably into the empty plain.
ISBN: 9780141194837 ISBN-10: 0141194839 Series: Popular Penguins Audience:
Number Of Pages: 236 Published: 28th June 2010 Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd Country of Publication: GB Dimensions (cm): 18.2 x 11.2
Weight (kg): 0.15
Edition Number: 1
About the Author
Despite his great impact on the literary world, Franz Kafka was a relatively "unknown" author during his life-time. He published relatively few of his works, and those were published in very limited runs, or in small literary journals.
Franz Kafka born in Prague, July 3, 1883, the son of Hermann and Julie Kafka. The oldest, he had three suriving younger sisters. Valli, Elli, and Ottla. His father was a self-made middle class Jewish merchant, who raised his children in the hopes of assimilating them into the mainstream society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The official ruling language of the empire was German, so Franz attended German grammar school (Volksschule am Fleischmarkt), and later the German Gymnasium (Altstädter Deutsches Gymnasium). He finished his Doctorate of Law in Prague, studying at the German language University (Die deutsche Universität) there. He initially gained employment at a private insurance firm Assicurazioni Generali and then with the Arbeiter-Unfall-Versicherungs-Anstalt für das Königreichs Böhmen in Prag
His Job at the Worker's Accident Insurance provided him with a steady income and "regular" office hours, so that he could dedicate his evenings to writing. His diaries contain continuing accounts of his restlessness and sleeplessness as he would work all night writing, only to return to the office for the next day of work, throughly exhausted.
Although he spoke and wrote Czech fluently throughout his life, his literary work was all completed in German.
He is known to have started writing at an early age, but all of his earliest attempts were later destroyed. His first pulished work came in 1907, and he continued to publish throughout the next seventeen years, but most of his works were published posthumously by his friend Max Brod.