The Trial by Franz Kafka (Vintage)

The Trial by Franz Kafka (Vintage)

This incredible cover is for the 1969 Vintage reprint of The Trial by Franz Kafka, who is perhaps most famous for the absurdist novel The Metamorphosis. This edition is listed as the “Definitive Edition” because it contains more than 10,000 words from Kafka’s manuscripts that were originally omitted from the American editions of the book.

Like much of his work, The Trial was not actually published in Kafka’s lifetime. It was originally published (under the German title Der Process) in 1925. The novel was never completed, though it was edited for publication by Kafka’s friend and literary executor Max Brod.

The Trial by Franz Kafka (Vintage)

The cover is not credited, but we managed to track down the artist. This is actually a sculpture by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti. If you have any doubts, here’s a photo of Giacometti working on it.

Alberto Giacometti

Photo by Paolo Monti

Giacometti was known for his surrealist style and his extremely thin figures. It’s reported that one of his friends once said that if Giacometti decided to sculpt you, “he would make your head look like the blade of a knife.” One of his sculptures is pictured on the back of the Swiss 100-franc banknote (8th series).

Giacometti’s work is a very appropriate complement to Kafka’s, though it’s a strange decision indeed to feature such a prominent sculptor without crediting him.

The inside of the book features some incredible illustrations by George Salter, who is credited.

The Trial by Franz Kafka (Vintage)