Introducing Kafka  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
The Penal Colony

Introducing Kafka (1993), also known as R. Crumb's Kafka, is an illustrated biography of Franz Kafka by David Zane Mairowitz and Robert Crumb. The book includes comic adaptations of some of Kafka's most famous works including The Metamorphosis, "A Hunger Artist", "In the Penal Colony", and "The Judgment", as well as brief sketches of his three novels The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika. The book also details Kafka's biography in a format that is part illustrated essay, part sequential comic panels. The book was released as part of the "Introducing..." series by Totem Books, which also features a volume each on Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich. The popularity of Crumb's renditions of Kafka's works led to additional printings under the title R. Crumb's Kafka. Its most recent edition by Fantagraphics Books (2007) is simply titled Kafka.


The book focuses mainly on the biographical details of Kafka's life, interspersed with short illustrated vignettes from his writing. The author relates Kafka's personality and various incidents in his life to the content of his stories. For example, the fact that he saw himself as a burden on his family is compared to stories in which the protagonist is an animal – most notably The Metamorphosis, in which the protagonist Gregor Samsa awakes to find himself transformed into a giant bug, becoming a burden to his family and becoming no longer able to support them.

Whether or not these parallels can be drawn so easily is a question regarding Psychoanalytic literary criticism and authorial intent.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Introducing Kafka" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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