Gregor Samsa Dreams of RoboCop

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Susan Bernofsky, in the introduction to her new translation of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, compares Gregor Samsa to famed American literary character Willy Loman. Over at the LA Review of Books, David Burr Gerrard praises the translation but disagrees that this is the character with whom Gregor has most in common:

Perhaps the troubled dreams from which Gregor awakes as an insect were dreams of military service. Perhaps he dreamed of a transformation that would turn him into an effective soldier. Perhaps he dreamed of being, not Willy Loman, but a different character out of American culture, one who like Gregor has suffered the total transformation of his body, but one who unlike Gregor emerges more powerful: RoboCop.


Marisa Siegel lives, writes, & edits in Evanston, IL. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her essay “Inherited Anger” appears in the anthology Burn It Down (Seal Press, 2019) & her debut poetry chapbook, Fixed Stars, is out now from Burrow Press. Poems have recently appeared or are soon forthcoming in Voicemail Poems, Hobart, Autofocus, & Sweet: A Literary Confection. She is senior acquiring editor for trade at Northwestern University Press, & editor-at-large for The Rumpus. Follow her on Twitter at @marisasaystweet & on Instagram at @marisaemily. More from this author →