Original Wraps. Leipzig: Kurt Wolff Verlag, 1916. First Edition. Near Fine.
First edition. Publisher’s gray wrappers with 3 leaves of advertisements at rear, in original pictorial dust jacket. Book with slight lean to spine, interior clean; jacket folds lightly rubbed, very light wear to spine ends, with title and author inked on spine by previous owner. The Metamorphosis was first published serially in German under the title Die Verwandlung in the avant-garde journal Die weissen Blätter in October 1915 and in book format by Kurt Wolff Verlag in December of the same year. It tells the story of the anti-hero Gregor Samsa, an overworked travelling salesman who awakens to find himself transformed into an ungeheueres Ungeziefer, or, as Lloyd translates "some monstrous kind of vermin;" Kafka's deliberately vague description of Samsa's new insect-like body, which, in the original German, is emphasized as being dirty and bottom-feeding, makes a direct translation into English extremely difficult, but is generally accepted to be a cockroach. As Gregor realizes his own transformation, the cause of which is never explained, his family's opinion of him similarly transforms, as they are both frustrated by his inability to continue to support them financially and disgusted by his new physical appearance. The Metamorphosis is widely considered one of the most influential works of the 20th century.