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The story of The Trial's publication is almost as fascinating as the novel itself. Kafka intended his parable of alienation in a mysterious bureaucracy to be burned, along with the rest of his diaries and manuscripts, after his death in 1924. Yet his friend Max Brod pressed forward to prepare The Trial and the rest of his papers for publication.
more about yourself. And don’t make such a fuss about how innocent you feel; it disturbs the otherwise not unfavorable impression you make. And you should talk less in general; almost everything you’ve said up to now could have been inferred from your behavior, even if you’d said only a few words, and it wasn’t terribly favorable to you in any case.” K. stared at the inspector. Was he to be lectured like a schoolboy by what might well be a younger man? To be reprimanded for his openness? And to
perhaps not every week, but with some frequency. On the one hand, it was in the general interest to bring his trial to a rapid conclusion; on the other, the inquiries must be thorough in every respect, yet never last too long, due to the strain involved. Therefore they had selected the expedient of this succession of closely spaced but brief inquiries. Sundays had been chosen for the inquiries to avoid disturbing K.’s professional life. It was assumed he would find this acceptable; if he
that would put an end to everything. It was disturbing that the door at the end of the hall now opened, and the young washerwoman, who had probably finished her work, entered, drawing a few glances in spite of her painstaking caution. Only the examining magistrate gave K. direct cause for joy, for he appeared to have been struck at once by his words. Up to that point he had been standing as he listened, for K.’s speech had caught him by surprise as he rose to admonish the gallery. As K. now
him so easily, it was an unnecessary strain—and limited himself to observing peevishly the way he sat so deeply yet lightly in the armchair, how he tugged repeatedly at his short, sharply tailored jacket, and how once, lifting his arms and fluttering his hands, he tried to describe something K. couldn’t quite follow, even though he leaned forward and stared at his hands. In the end K., who was now simply glancing mechanically back and forth during the conversation, began to fall prey to his
hairy hand in the middle of the table and turned toward its lower end, they all immediately pricked up their ears. And when someone there took up his question but either failed from the very start to decipher it, or stared thoughtfully into his beer, or instead of speaking simply clamped his jaw shut, or even—that was the worst—broke into an impetuous flood of words to back up some erroneous or unverified opinion, then the older men shifted about in their chairs with a smile and seemed to be