July 3, 2015

Happy Birthday Kafka

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:22 pm

From The Diaries of Franz Kafka:

Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

The craving that I almost have, when for once I feel my stomach is healthy, to heap up in me notions of terrible deeds of daring with food.  I especially satisfy this craving in front of port butchers.  If I see a sausage that is labeled as an old, hard sausage, I bite into it in my imagination with all my teeth and swallow quickly, regularly and thoroughly like a machine.  The despair that this act, even in the imagination, has as its immediate result, increases my haste.  I shove the long slabs of rib meat unbitten into my mouth, and then pull them out again from behind, tearing through the stomach and intestines.  I eat dirty delicatessen stores completely empty.  Cram myself with herrings, pickles and all the bad, old, sharp foods.  Bonbons are poured into me like hail from their tin boxes.  I can enjoy in this way not only my healthy condition but also a suffering that is without pain and can pass at once.

Apathetic, witless, fearful.  I have nothing to say to anyone — never.

The greed for books is certain in me.  Not really to own or to read them, but to see them, to convince myself of their actuality in the stalls of the booksellers.  …  It is though this greed came from my stomach, as though it were a perverse appetite.

At bottom, I am an incapable, ignorant person, who, if he had not been compelled — without any effort of his own part and scarcely aware of the compulsion — to go to school, would be fit only to crouch in a kennel, to leap out when food is offered and to leap back when he has swallowed it.

Self-pity, because it is cold, because of everything.  Now, at half-past nine at night, someone in the next apartment is hammering a nail into the wall between us.

The difficulties (which other people surely find incredible) I have in speaking to people arise formthe fact that my thinking, or rather the content of my consciousness, is entirely nebulous, that I remain undisturbed by this, so far as it concerns only myself, and am even occasionally self-satisfied; yet conversation with people demands pointedness, solidity, and sustained coherence, qualities not to be found in me.

A quarter to two at night.  Across the street a child is crying.  Suddenly a man in the same room, as near to me as if he were just outside the window, speaks.  “I’d rather jump out the window than listen to any more of that.”

Open the diary only in order to lull myself to sleep.  But see what happens to be the last entry and could conceive of thousands of identical ones I might have entered over the past three or four years.

There is a certain failing, lack in me, that is clear and distant enough but difficult to describe: it is a compound of timidity, reserve, talkativeness and half-heartedness; by this I intend to characterize something specific, a group of failings that under a certain aspect constitute one single clearly defined failing (which has nothing to do such grave vices as mendacity, vanity, etc.).

Evening in the garden of the Askanischer Hof.  Ate rice a la Trautmannsdorf and a peach.  A man drinking wine watched my attempts to cut the unripe little peach with my knife.  I couldn’t.  Stricken with shame, under the old man’s eyes, I let the peach go completely and ten times leafed through the Die Fleigenden Blatter.  I wanted to see if he wouldn’t at last turn away.  Finally I collected all my strength and in defiance of him bit into the completely juiceless and expensive peach.  A tall man in the both near me occupied with nothing but the roast he was painstakingly selecting and the wine in the bucket.

What is it that binds you more intimately to these impenetrable, talking, eye-blinking bodies than to any other things, 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 necessity of speaking of dancers with exclamation points.  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.

Those who rejoice in the sun and demand that others rejoice are like drunkards coming from a wedding at night who forces those they meet to drink to the health of the unknown bride.

Together with E.K. of Chicago. … He is wary of marriage, even though he is already thirty-four years old, since American women often marry only in order to get divorced.

When I say something it immediately and finally loses its importance, when I write it down it loses it too, but sometimes gains a new one.

Afternoon.  The way my mother, together with a crowd of women, with a loud voice, is playing with some small children nearby and drove me out of the house.  Don’t cry!   Don’t cry! etc.  That’s his! etc.  Two big people! etc.  He doesn’t want to! … But!  But!

The picture of dissatisfaction presented by a street, where everyone is perpetually lifting his feet to escape from the place on which he stands.


Germany has declared war on Russia — Swimming in the afternoon.


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