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The Trial Franz Kafka (Verlag Die Schmeiede, 1925)

The Trial recounts the story of a man
arrested for an unknown crime by a remote, inaccessible authority and his struggle for control over the increasingly absurdity of his life.

Originally written in 1914 and 1915, it was unfinished when German-language writer Franz Kafka died in 1924. The Trial was published the next year with a final chapter that concludes the story. The original manuscript is held by the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach am Neckar, Germany.

Kafka was born in Prague, which at the time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to a German-speaking Jewish family. Shy, seldom-speaking, Kafka’s first job was selling insurance. Kafka entered into a Vienna santorium (a medical facility for long-term illnesses) in April 1924. His laryngeal tuberculosis was worsening. On June 3, at age 40, Kafka passed away. His official cause of death was listed as starvation as his throat made eating too painful. Since intravenous wasn’t developed until the 1960s, medical personnel had no way to feed him. Kafka was editing A Hunger Artist at the time of his death. Kafka didn’t achieve fame (not that he wanted it) while he was alive, but would in the ensuing years. The Trial is considered one of his best works.

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