The impenetrable outline of human bodies is horrible (Kafka’s diary, Oct 30, 1921)

30 October. In the afternoon to the theatre, Pallenberg.
The possibilities within me, I won’t say to act or write The Miser, but to be the miser himself. It would need only a sudden determined movement of my hands, the entire orchestra gazes in fascination at the spot above the conductor’s stand where the baton will rise.
Feeling of complete helplessness.
What is it that binds you more intimately to these impenetrable, talking, eye-blinking bodies than to any other thing, the penholder in your hand, for example? Because you belong to the same species? But you don’t belong to the same species, that’s the very reason why you raised this question.
The impenetrable outline of human bodies is horrible.
The wonder, the riddle of my not having perished already, of the silent power guiding me. It forces one to this absurdity: ‘Left to my own resources, I should have long ago been lost.’ My own resources.

From Franz Kafka’s diary entry of October 30, 1921.

Kafka/Cerebus (Books Acquired, 1.31.2014 + Bonus Circumcision Anecdote)


Picked up books last week, not needing them, but hey.

A digest of Kafka’s diaries; good stuff, great random reading.

This is a great little anecdote:


Austerlitz is of course the name of a W.G. Sebald novel. From that novel:


I also picked up the sixth issue of Swords of Cerebus by Dave Sim. It’s a second printing and in terrible shape and I already have the issues in other forms (reprint and graphic novel) but it’s still a pretty rare find. And I am a nerd.


The book also includes a short little excellent wordless comic, “A Night on the Town,” where Cerebus parties with a corpse. I have the reprint somewhere else, but still:


“The sight of stairs moves me so today” (Kafka)


“Life in the jungle” (Kafka)

(From Kafka’s Diaries).

“Evil does not exist” (Kafka)

(From Kafka’s Diaries).

“I have been reading about Dickens” (Kafka)

(From Kafka’s Diaries).

Self-discovery (Kafka)


(From Kafka’s diaries).

Honesty of Evil Thoughts (Kafka)

From Kafka’s Diaries.

Kafka Spits a Rat

From Kafka’s unfinished and very strange story “Memoirs of the Kalda Railway.” Collected in Diaries.

“Do You Despair?” (Kafka)

(From a 1910 diary entry).

Faulkner Source Material Discovered

The New York Times reports that “what appears to be the document on which Faulkner modeled that ledger [detailing the genealogy that haunts Go Down, Moses] as well as the source for myriad names, incidents and details that populate his fictionalized Yoknapatawpha County has been discovered.” The article continues:

The original manuscript, a diary from the mid-1800s, was written by Francis Terry Leak, a wealthy plantation owner in Mississippi whose great-grandson Edgar Wiggin Francisco Jr. was a friend of Faulkner’s since childhood. Mr. Francisco’s son, Edgar Wiggin Francisco III, now 79, recalls the writer’s frequent visits to the family homestead in Holly Springs, Miss., throughout the 1930s, saying Faulkner was fascinated with the diary’s several volumes. Mr. Francisco said he saw them in Faulker’s hands and remembers that he “was always taking copious notes.”

History, particularly the strange, paradoxical, and taboo history of the plantation underwrites almost all of Faulkner’s significant fiction, so any historical document that served to inform his writing will be of particular note to enthusiasts and scholars alike.