The Forum

Discover world history, culture and ideas with today’s leading experts.



Kafka's The Metamorphosis: a man turns into a monstrous bug

A man wakes up in the body of a verminous insect – this is the plot of one of the most celebrated short stories of all time – Franz Kafka’s 1915 novella “The Metamorphosis”. Dealing with the isolation and absurdity of modern existence, it has fascinated readers all over the world in its openness to varying interpretations, and the way it questions the very norms of society as well as literary form. Joining Rajan Datar to explore this most enigmatic work is Dr Carolin Duttlinger, the author of four books on Kafka and co-director of the Oxford Kafka research centre, Professor Alice Staskova, native of Kafka’s home city of Prague and specialist on Kafka and music, Dr Peter Zusi from the department of Czech Literature at University College London, and with the contribution of the Nigerian novelist Adrian Igoni Barrett who wrote his own take on The Metamorphosis – about a black man in Lagos who wakes up white. Photo: Kafka's The Metamorphosis choreographed and directed by Arthur Pita at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, UK (Robbie Jack/Corbis/Getty Images)


 2019-07-11  40m