'In recent decades, interest in hunger artists has greatly diminished.' Kafka published two collections of short stories in his lifetime, A Country Doctor: Little Tales (1919) and A Hunger Artist: Four Stories (1924). Both collections are included in their entirety in this edition, which also contains other, uncollected stories and a selection of posthumously published works that have become part of the Kafka canon. Enigmatic, satirical, often bleakly humorous, these stories approach human experience at a tangent: a singing mouse, an ape, an inquisitive dog, and a paranoid burrowing creature are among the protagonists, as well as the professional starvation artist. A patient seems to be dying from a metaphysical wound; the war-horse of Alexander the Great steps aside from history and adopts a quiet profession as a lawyer. Fictional meditations on art and artists, and a series of aphorisms that come close to expressing Kafka's philosophy of life, further explore themes that recur in his major novels. Newly translated, and with an invaluable introduction and notes, Kafka's short stories are haunting and unforgettable.
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