Franz Kafka, who was born 130 years ago, is celebrated today with a Google doodle of the protagonist in 'The Metamorphosis.'
The Google homepage Wednesday depicts an insect with a top hat and briefcase returning home from a long day at the job. The doodle, of course, is a wry homage to "Die Verwandlung," or "The Metamorphosis," Franz Kafka's chilling 1915 novella about a man – Gregor Samsa – who finds himself suddenly transformed into a giant, squirming insect.
So who was Franz Kafka, exactly? Only one of the greatest novelists in history, and the man who helped usher in a century of modernist fiction. As John Updike wrote in a forward to a 1971 collection of Kafka's stories, Kafka's writing was always marked – as is certainly true of "The Metamorphosis" – with a sensation of profound dread.