The Theater: Kafka in Pans

The bejeweled countesses and duchesses in the lobby recoiled as a barefoot, plaid-shirted pilgrim from the Left Bank stalked past them. Communist Poet Louis Aragon stood near Catholic Poet Paul Claudel, and close by was Protestant Novelist André Gide. The opening night that attracted such a variegated audience to the Théatre Marigny promised to be the most exciting of the Paris theater season. And the promise was kept.

André Gide had adapted the dialogue for Franz Kafka's dark parable, The Trial, with painstaking exactness ("I effaced myself"). To convey the uncanny mood of...

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