Speaking of dancers (Kafka)

The necessity of speaking of dancers with exclamation marks. Because in that way one imitates their motion, because one remains in the rhythm and the thought does not then interfere with the enjoyment, because then the action always comes at the end of the sentence and prolongs its effect better.

From Franz Kafka’s diary entry, 16 March 1912.

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.

“He’s been reading Kafka again, hasn’t he?”

kafka gauld

An Excerpt From The Chapter “Mycobacterium tuberculosis” in Reiner Stach’s Kafka: The Years of Inight



They had a difficult time with Kafka. His statements about the dangerous illness seem oddly self-assured, sensory, and at times downright theatrical, even to modern readers who have internalized the paradoxical forms of expression of literary modernity. But when we look over the correspondence of that little circle, it seems equally odd that Brod, Weltsch, and Baum had not developed any real feeling for Kafka’s psychological volatility after more than a decade of close personal contact, or understood his vulnerable, literally exposed life and his sense of reality, maintained in spite of it all. This sense of reality was what told him what to do and what not to do for his illness. But it was a far more basic need, over which he had little control, that compelled him to derive meaning from what had happened.

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An Excerpt From Reiner Stach’s “Kafka: The Years of Insight”


No sooner was Felice out of her mother’s sight, however, than she blossomed. At the train station in Marienbad, she greeted an anxious Kafka in the tender and natural way he had always hoped for in vain in Berlin. Even the stumbling blocks they had to deal with on their first days in Marienbad–switching hotels, constant rain, and of course Kafka’s sensitivities and rigid habits–did nothing to change that. “Tribulations of living together,” he noted on the third day, and although he was undoubtedly aware that Felice had far more reason to complain, he twisted the knife a little deeper: “Impossibility of living with F. Impossibility of living with anyone at all.”

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Extract From Kafka’s “Letters to Milena”

You must also consider, Milena, the kind of person who comes to you, the 38-year journey lying behind me (and since I’m a Jew an even much longer one), and if at an apparently accidental turning of the road I see you, whom I’ve never expected to see and least of all so late, then, Milena, I cannot shout, not does anything shout within me, nor do I say a thousand foolish things, they are not in me (I’m omitting the other foolishness of which I have more than enough), and the fact that I’m kneeling I discover perhaps only through seeing your feet quite close before my eyes, and by caressing them.

“Mount Sinai” — Franz Kafka