Google has changed its logo into a giant walking insect Wednesday as tribute to the late German author Franz Kafka. The Google Doodle depicts a scene from Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," in which traveling salesman Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant insect.
Google's latest Doodle honors the 130th anniversary of Kafka's birthday -- July 3, 1883. Kafka has been called one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, and his work is often regarded by critics as having a profound impact on the literary movement known as existentialism.
Literary critic Elias Canetti described "The Metamorphosis" as "one of the few great and perfect works of the poetic imagination written during this century."
Kafka often included brutal psychological and physical violence in his works, as well as alienated characters dealing with exhausting bureaucracy. "The Trial" is considered by German literary committees to be the second "Best German Novel of the Twentieth Century," but was only published a year after Kafka's death, against his wishes.
Kafka was born into a Jewish, middle-class family in Prague, and sold insurance after graduating from law school. He wrote in his spare time, complaining that he did not have enough time to spend on his true passion, and died one month before his 41st birthday, on June 3, 1924.
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Kafka often communicated by letter, and wrote to a friend while penning "Metamorphosis" that the transformed protagonist should not be illustrated for the cover art. He wrote "The insect itself is not to be drawn. It is not even to be seen from a distance."
Hopefully, he would not take issue with Google for its attempt to honor his birth and legacy.