The Trial

The Trial (German title: Der Prozess): A posthumously published novel (1925; English translation 1937) by Franz Kafka (1883-1924). Set in a nightmarish, proto-totalitarian world, it concerns the tribulations of Josef K., who is arrested and brought before a court, but the charges against him are never stated. He is driven to find out what he is supposed to have done wrong, and to seek acquittal–which he never succeeds in doing, but is taken to the edge of the city and killed ‘like a dog.’

Orson Welles directed a haunting film version (1963). In the opera The Visitation (1966), the US composer Gunther Schuller (1925-2015) transfers Kafka’s The Trial to the Southern states of the USA and Josef K. becomes a black student called Carter Jones.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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