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Kim Blank
Professor

Affiliation with UVic English: Faculty

Special Book: The Metamorphosis (1915; first English translations: 1930s), Franz Kafka

When did you first read this book: First year of college, first term, first course, first assigned reading, first sentence.

Which sentence from this book has special significance for you?

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

1915-16 [first English translations in the 1930s)

What does the sentence mean to you?

The opening line of Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis provided not only the two greatest insights of my reading career, but also the greatest shock. The insights: that, in literature, anything is possible, and that the real, somewhat paradoxically, can exist in fiction. The shock: well, just read that first sentence.

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