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 currently lives, writes, and edits near NYC but thinks twenty times a day about heading back west. She is Editor-in-Chief and owner of The Rumpus. Find her on Twitter at @marisasaystweet. More from this author →