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Die Verwandlung [Metamorphosis].
Leipzig: Kurt Wolff Verlag,, 1915. Octavo. Original japon-backed blue laid paper boards, titles to front board and spine in black, top edge blue. With the dust jacket and printed portion of the wraparound band. Housed in a custom black quarter morocco and cloth flat-backed folding case. Minor staining to outer edges of boards, endpapers and terminal leaves foxed. An unusually bright copy in the tanned and lightly spotted dust jacket, with small scuff to the front panel. First edition, first printing, the uncommon case-bound issue. The publication of this work – the first of Kafka's masterpieces – was a confused affair. Two issues were intended: one in wrappers, the other in boards. Sales appear to have been disappointing, and after a year or so numerous copies remaining unsold were stamped on the title pages with the official stamp of the German censors. Possibly at this time a second and cheaper-looking binding was put out, with wove paper on the boards and poorer-quality stamping to the boards and spine. The question of dust jackets has been unclear, some suggesting their presence to be a later using-up of unwanted wrappers. Our copy settles the issue. Palpably the early issues without the rubber stamp and in the better quality binding were published in the dust jacket. This matter is important since the Expressionist cover illustration by Ottomar Starke has been integral to the fame of this first printing. After learning that Ottomar Starke would illustrate the dust jacket, Kafka wrote to the publisher: "The insect itself must not be illustrated by a drawing. It cannot be shown at all, not even from a distance" (25 October 1915).
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-10-24           Check availability:      Biblio    


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