Google is celebrating the birth of Prague-born writer Franz Kafka, who is regarded by some of one of the most important writers of the 20th century. Kafka, who published dozens of short stories and a handful of novel, is one of the main influencers of what we know as existentialism.
Google’s Doodle honors one of Kafka’s most influential works – a novella called “Die Verwandlung,” or “The Metamorphosis.” First published in 1915, The Metamorphosis tells the story of a man who awakens to find himself changed into a giant insect. The “metamorphosis” is inexplicable. The man (now a giant bug) slowly becomes used to his new body and his family is forced to deal with the ghastly transformation. You’ll find the story on countless high school and college curricula.
Today’s Doodle features the giant bug opening a door as the two “O”s.
Kafka is also known for other stories, including “Der Process” (The Trial), and “Das Schloss” (The Castle). The former was adapted by Orson Welles into a 1962 film starring Anthony Perkins.
Kafka died at the age of 40 of starvation linked to laryngeal tuberculosis. Google’s Doodle celebrates his birth, which is July 3rd (the Doodle is currently available in Australia, and will make its way west in due time).
His legacy in popular culture, besides the works of literature, usually involves the mention of the phrase “Kafkaesque.” Although the term has its roots in bureaucratic nightmares, situations of helplessness and such, Kafkaesque has come to signify any sort of bizarre or inexplicable scenario.