Franz Kafka - The Proceß

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Full text reading by Axel Grube
Playing time: 10 hours 18 min.

The most famous and perhaps most important novel in world literature is a fragment. Franz Kafka began work in the summer of 1914, made rapid progress, but completed the work in January 1915 and left the manuscript unfinished, in a folder, as a disorganized collection of individual chapters. His long-time friend Max Brod published the novel one year after Kafka's death in 1925, in the order of the chapters that has been followed to this day. "Somebody must have mixed up Josef K., because he was arrested one morning without doing anything bad." With what is probably the most famous opening words, the story begins with the mysterious arrest of the 30-year-old bank manager Josef K. by enigmatic gentlemen in the form of two guards and a supervisor. Josef K. is - so he finally learns - probably under arrest, but can continue his life without being “hindered in his normal way of life (...)”. So Josef K., who until then had led the miserable life of a type of modernity, a 'calculator', from now on becomes more and more passionate about looking for the 'court' himself. In a building he visits, for example, he discovers that he will actually find the court behind every door. At another station, after unsuccessful assistance from lawyers and women acquaintances, an artist gives him the hint that “everything is the court”. In the central chapter of the cathedral, Josef K. receives further information in a conversation with the clergyman and through his story the DOORKEEPER. In a certain way, Josef K. is developing. Finally, in the legacy chapter “Journey to the Mother”, there are signs of reflection and self-empowerment. In the separate story EIN TRAUM, a reconciliation with death. The execution of Josef K. in the final chapter - Kafka wrote this chapter first alongside the opening chapter - leaves the success of a reversal and reorientation of Josef K. open.

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