• In the Penal Colony

  • By: Franz Kafka
  • Narrated by: Peter Yearsley
  • Length: 1 hr and 5 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (66 ratings)

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In the Penal Colony  By  cover art

In the Penal Colony

By: Franz Kafka
Narrated by: Peter Yearsley
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Publisher's Summary

"In the Penal Colony" ("In der Strafkolonie") (also translated as "In the Penal Settlement") is a short story by Franz Kafka written in German in October 1914, revised in November 1918, and first published in October 1919. The story is set in an unnamed penal colony. Internal clues and the setting on an island suggest Octave Mirbeau's "The Torture Garden" as an influence. As in some of Kafka's other writings, the narrator in this story seems detached from, or perhaps numbed by, events that one would normally expect to be registered with horror. "In the Penal Colony" describes the last use of an elaborate torture and execution device that carves the sentence of the condemned prisoner on his skin before letting him die, all in the course of 12 hours. As the plot unfolds, the listener learns more and more about the machine, including its origin and original justification.

Public Domain (P)2016 Paperless

What listeners say about In the Penal Colony

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a bit confusing, but not for Kafka fans

in the penal colony, is a must for any Kafka fan, his views on judgement and punishment, all dark btw, are worthy of our contemplation

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-31-21

Mental health

The narrator mentions that the execution machine was also used in mental health goals at that time. Action in our day must be taken against mental health worker's who abuse wrongly diagnose and wrongly medicate vulnerable adults and children.

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  • Parker
  • 08-24-19

A Kafka masterpiece read out competently and with good diction

This is one of kafka’s most celebrated stories which is told in an unpretentious way giving correct emphasis without too much theatricality. To understand K you have to situate him in the folk take tradition.