Well, it was bound to happen. Quirk Books is digging into the public domain for its cutest literary remix to date. Franz Kafka‘s The Metamorphosis becomes The Meowmorphosis. According to Quirk, through the “haunting illustrations and a provocative biographical exposé of Kafka’s own secret feline life, The Meowmorphosis will take you on a journey deep into the tortured soul of the domestic tabby.”
Cute as deformity. Cuteness as existential dilemma. Cute as allegory. Cute as catastrophe. Cuteness as borderland identity.
How exactly might the cute kitten figure in Kafka’s existential template? In the original text, Gregor Samsa is transformed into a horrible giant insect, a loathsome creature from which all human beings feel utterly alienated. As Gregor becomes more and more disgusting to those around him and increasingly unable to communicate, the limits of human toleration are reached and Gregor must find peace within the confines of his disgrace. As a cuddly misfit par excellence, ridiculously vulnerable in its state of motherless destitution, the cute kitten reigns supreme in the anthropomorphized universe of loveable outcasts and inferiors.
The literary mashup of Kafka’s classic is due out this Tuesday.