Written & Spoken Word

The Metamorphosis - Section Three

Franz Kafka

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Author: Franz Kafka, translated by Ian Johnston

Read by: David Barnes, London, November 2006

Source:  Librivox1 recording of a public-domain text

“The Metamorphosis,” one of the most famous of all short stories or novellas, was written in 1912 by a 29-year old resident of Prague named Franz Kafka. Kafka, born in 1883, had just partnered with one of his brothers-in-law in running an asbestos plant. He wrote “The Metamorphosis” while struggling with work/art balance and with his dominating father Hermann Kafka, who had worked at one time as a traveling salesman.  Franz Kafka was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1917; he died seven years later at the age of 40.

Thanks to Project Gutenberg, which digitally publishes public-domain texts; LibriVox,which records narrators reading the texts; and InternetArchive, which hosts the audio files, we can listen to this marvelous story.

Important timestamps are as follows:

0:21      “Gregor’s serious wound, from which he suffered for over a month, since no one ventured to remove the apple – it remained in his flesh as a visible reminder – seemed by itself to remind the father that, in spite of his present unhappy and hateful appearance, Gregory was a member of the family, something one should not treat as an enemy, and that it was, on the contrary, a requirement of family duty to suppress one’s aversion and to endure.”

8:29      “Sometimes he thought that the next time the door opened, he would take over the family arrangements just as he had earlier.”

15:09    “Gregor ate hardly anything anymore.”

15:50    “…now that they had rented one room of the apartment to three lodgers.”

26:23    “’Mister Samsa,’ called out the middle lodger to his father, and without uttering a further word, pointed his index finger at Samsa…”

30:40    “’My dear parents,’ said the sister…’I will not utter my brother’s name in front of this monster, and thus I say only that we must try to get rid of it.’”

32:44    “’If he only understood us,’ said the father in a semi-questioning tone.”

38:04    “He remembered his family with deep feelings of love. In this business, his own thought that he had to disappear was, if possible, even more decisive than his sister’s.”

48:36    “Then all three left the apartment together –something they had not done for months now – and took the electric tram into the open air outside the city.”

49:39    “…it struck Mr. and Mrs. Samsa, almost at the same moment, how their daughter, who was getting more animated all the time, had blossomed recently, in spite of all the troubles which had made her cheeks pale, into a beautiful and voluptuous young woman…they thought that the time was now at hand to seek out a good honest man for her. And it was something of a confirmation of their new dreams and good intentions when, at the end of their journey, their daughter got up first and stretched her young body."


1            The mission of LibriVox, a nonprofit founded in 2005 by Hugh McGuire, is “to make all books in the public domain available, narrated by real people and distributed free in audio format on the internet.”

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