Franz Kafka! The giant bug and absurd trial guy! love him! his strange stories and big moopy eyes have captivated me.
gonna put here some stuff that amuses me. don't know how to style this page so take this for now. I saved many other things but they're disorganized and/or I forgot the source and I'm lazy. If I don't restart this page now I'll never do it
I will add more I promise
If you're still wondering who the hell is this guy, either visit the english Wikipedia page or go read Reiner Stach's huge three part biography. No in-between. ok maybe one in-between.
kafka.org has a lot of stuff... mostly in german
I'm pretty sure that the Schocken Kafka Library editions are considered the "standard" english translations of his works/letters/diaries.
I'm still waiting for that damn uncensored translation of the diaries or at least they have *everything* nope! Fragments!
A lot of fragments. Franz Kafka: The Lost Writings, has some of them. Abandoned Fragments (translated by Ida Pfitzner), has everything untill 1917. Where are the others? You tell me :(
Franz Kafka: The Office Writings has stuff he had to write at the Workmen's Accident Insurance Institute. If you can read it without falling asleep
Franz Kafka: The Drawings has all of his drawings and doodles if you want to look at them
Franz Kafka: Pictures of a life (open library) has all the photos you want and more
If you ever end up in Prague, Kafka's Prague: a travel reader (open library) is what you need!
If you have questions, don't ask me! I don't know anything I'm just vibing here! go bother franzkavkas instead. or look for Reiner Stach's address or something
Franz Kafka in a letter to Max Brod (his best friend), May 1908
“Here, dear Max, are two books and a pebble. I’ve always tried hard to find something for your birthday that is of such a neutral nature that it cannot be changed, be lost, be spoiled, and be forgotten. And after having pondered the problem for months I once again could think of nothing but sending you a book. But books are a vexation; if on the one hand they are neutral, on the other hand they are all the more interesting; and then only my convictions attracted me to the neutral ones, but with me convictions are by no means the decisive factor, and at the end I found myself, still changing my mind, holding in my hand a book that simply burned with sheer interestingness. Once I deliberately forgot your birthday. That was of course better than sending a book, but it wasn’t good. Therefore I am sending you the pebble now, and will send one to you as long as we live. Keep it in your pocket; it will protect you. If you leave it in a drawer, it won’t be inactive either; but if you throw it away, that will be best of all. For you know, Max, my love for you is greater than myself and I dwell in it rather than it dwells in me. And if it only has feeble support in my insecure nature, by means of the pebble it comes to occupy an abode in rock, even if only in a crack in the sidewalk on Schalengasse. For a long time this love has saved me more often than you know, and right now, when I am more puzzled about myself than ever and when fully conscious feel half asleep, but so extremely light, barely existing—I go around as if my guts were black, you know–at such a time as now it feels good to throw a pebble like this into the world and thus divide certainty from uncertainty. What are books compared to that! Once a book begins to bore you, it goes on doing so, or your child tears it up, or, like Walser’s book, it’s already falling apart when you receive it. But the pebble cannot bore you; a pebble also cannot disintegrate, or if it does, only in times far in the future. You also cannot forget it because you are not supposed to remember it. Finally, you can never lose it for good since you’ll find it again on any old gravel path because it is just any old pebble… In short, I have found the finest of birthday presents for you and convey it to you with a kiss which is meant to express awkwardly my thanks that you exist. Yours, Franz.”
Libellen rasteten an unsern Beinen,
Die zarten Flügelpaare ausgespannt.
Ins Wasser hingestreckt von heißer Wand
Mochten wir ihnen Felsen oder Blumen scheinen.
Hoch oben zackte sich mit ihrem reinen
Kalkstaub die Straße, sonnenweiß gebrannt;
Zu uns die schweren Trauben hergewandt
Neigte sich Kühle frauenhaft aus Weinlaubhainen.
Doch unsre Seelen waren, lieber Freund,
Erregt von leidvoller Vergangenheit
Und klangen auf in Worten schwarz und weit.
Auch wußten wir, wiewohl jetzt hold gebräunt,
Daß nahe Tage uns in gleiche Bürden
Beugen und unerbittlich bleichen würden.
Lugano-See (1912), a poem by Max Brod for Kafka. I had the translation, somewhere
"He was coming to see me one afternoon- I was still living with my parents then- and his coming in woke up my father. Instead of apologizing, he said, in an indescribably gentle way, raising a hand as if to calm him and walking softly on tiptoe through the room, "Please look on me as a dream""
Max Brod, Franz Kafka, a biography
The Peach Incident:
(July 27, 1914) Ate rice à 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 Die Fliegenden Blätter. I waited 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.
"The Kafka is a very rare magnificent moon-blue mouse that does not eat meat, but feeds on bitter herbs. It is a fascinating sight because it has human eyes" - " Die Kafka ist eine sehr selten gesehene prachtvolle mondblaue Maus, die kein Fleisch frisst, sondern sich von bittern Kräutern nährt. Ihr Anblick fasziniert, denn sie hat Menschenaugen."
- Franz Blei, Das große Bestiarium der Modernen Literatur. obsessed with this
"Kafka, as if to compensate for the remarkable gift he had of musical speech, had no talent for pure music. [...] He once told me he couldn't tell the difference between The Merry Widow and Tristan and Isolde.". There is this amount of truth in these words, that he never took much trouble to get to know the higher music. And yet he was not without a natural feeling for rhythm and tune. I often heard him sing Lowe's ballad, "Count Eberstein,"* to himself- it was his favourite piece."
Max Brod, Franz Kafka, a biography (*it's Carl Loewe, Graf Eberstein)
"Listening to music, by its nature, sets a wall around me, and the only lasting musical effect is that, shut in in this way, I am anything but free."
"The essence of my unmusicalness consists in my inability to enjoy music connectedly, it only now and then has an effect on me, and how seldom it is a musical one. The natural effect of music on me is to circumscribe me with a wall, and its only constant inluence on me is that, confined in this way, I am different from what I am when free." - both Franz Kafka (somewhereeee)
from one of the 1000 Letters to Felice I will check which one I swear:
“I can laugh too, Felice, don’t doubt that, I’m even known as a greatlaugher, though I used to be much more foolish about it than I am now. Once—it’s been two years now, but the legend will outlive me here at the Institute—I even started to laugh in the midst of a formal meeting with thepresident—and what a laugh! It would be too long-winded to explain thisman’s importance, so just trust me when I say that it is great, and that anordinary employee at the Institute imagines this man up in the clouds, notdown on earth. And since we generally don’t have many opportunities tospeak to the kaiser, this man offers ordinary employees the chance to feel like they’re meeting with the kaiser—that’s the way it is in any large business. Of course there’s something laughable about this man—as thereis about any man who’s fully exposed to public scrutiny, and whose position is somewhat disproportionate to his own achievements—but anyone who would be moved to laughter by something so apparent, by that sort of natural phenomenon—and in the presence of the great man, at that—must really be godforsaken. We—two colleagues and I—had just received a promotion, and we were there in our formal black suits to express our gratitude to the president, and I should not neglect to mention that I had a special reason to be grateful to the president to begin with.The most dignified of us—I was the youngest—gave a speech to expressour thanks, short, reasonable, spirited, in keeping with his character. The president listened in the posture he typically adopted on such formal occasions, a pose somewhat like that of our real kaiser when he holds anaudience, and truly (if you will, and if you can’t help it) hilarious. His legs lightly crossed, his left hand clenched in a fist and resting on the very
corner of the table, his head lowered so that his full white beard folds in at the chest, and on top of all that, his belly—which was not too large, but still protruded—slightly rocking. I really must have been in anuncontrollable mood at the time, because I was familiar enough with thatpose, and there was no reason for me to break out in little bursts of laughter. At first they were only sporadic, and they could have easily been taken for coughing fits, especially since the president wasn’t looking up.The clear voice of my colleague, who kept his eyes forward and took note of my condition, but without being influenced by it, also helped to rein mein. But then, when my colleague’s speech had ended, the president raisedhis head, and for a moment my laughter gave way to terror, because now he could see my face and could easily tell that the laughter that was coming from my mouth, much to my chagrin, was by no means a cough. But as he began his speech—the sort of customary speech that you know long before you hear it, following the imperial formula and accompanied by heavy chest tones, altogether meaningless and unjustified—as my colleague cast sidelong glances my way, trying to warn me even as I foughtfor self-control, but in the process vividly reminding me of the pleasure of my earlier laughter—I couldn’t hold myself back anymore, and I abandoned all hope that I would ever be able to hold myself back. At first I only laughed at the harmless little jokes that the president scattered in here and there; but whereas the law tells us to respond to these jokes only with a respectful smile, I was already letting out a full-throated laugh, I could see my colleagues give a start for fear of contagion, and I felt more sympathy for them than for myself, but I couldn’t help myself, yet I didn’t try to turn away or to cover my mouth with my hand, rather in my helplessness I kept staring into the president’s face, unable to turn away, probably feeling that it could only get worse, not better, and so it would be best to avoid any change at all. Of course, once I got going, I started laughing not only at the current joke, but also at the previous jokes, and the jokes yet to come, and all of them together, and no one could tell anymore what I was actually laughing at; a general sense of awkwardness
took hold, only the president was relatively exempt, as a great man who is accustomed to many things in the world, and who, by the way, could never even grasp the possibility that his own person would be treated with disrespect. If we had slipped out at that point, perhaps the president even shortened his speech a bit, everything still would have gone alright,certainly my behavior would still have been rude, but this rudeness would have gone unremarked, and the whole matter would have been put to restby an unspoken agreement among the four of us who were involved, as often happens with such apparently impossible things. But then, to my misfortune, the colleague I haven’t mentioned until now (a man near 40with a round, childlike but bearded face, and a staunch beer drinker besides) started in on a fully unexpected little speech. At that moment it was completely inconceivable to me, my laughter had already completely thrown him off, he had stood there with his cheeks puffed out as he suppressed his own laughter and—now he started in on a serious speech.But for him this made perfect sense. He has such a vacuous, fiery temperament, that he’s capable of passionately, endlessly championing claims that everyone already accepts, and if it weren’t for his laughable but congenial passion, these speeches of his would be unbearably boring. Now the president had made some thoroughly harmless remark that this colleague didn’t completely agree with, and besides, possibly on accountof my uninterrupted laughter, he had halfway forgotten where he was, and in short, he thought that it was the right moment for him to come out withhis particular viewpoints, and to convince the president (who was naturally deathly indifferent to anything that others could say). So now, ashe started waving his hands and rattling off something ridiculous (asusual, but now more than ever), it all got to be too much for me, the world that I had seemed to have in front of my eyes up to that point slipped away from me entirely, and I burst out in loud, reckless laughter, the kind ofhearty laughter that you usually only hear from grade-schoolers on their benches. Everything fell silent, and now my laughter and I had finally taken center stage. Of course my knees were trembling with fear the whole time I was laughing, and now my colleagues could laugh along with me all they wanted, they could never compete with the abomination of that laughter that I’d been preparing and practicing for so long, and so they went relatively unnoticed. Beating my breast with my right hand, partly in acknowledgement of my sin (as a reminder of the Day of Atonement), and partly to drive out all of the laughter that I had held back in my breast, I offered numerous excuses for my laughter, which may all have been very convincing, but they could not be understood because they were constantly being interrupted by fresh laughter. Of course by now even the presidentwas confused, but since such people are born with an instinct for balancing things out, and with all the resources they need to do so, he found some phrase to give some sort of sensible meaning to my howling, I think a connection to a joke he had made much earlier. Then he dismissedus in a hurry. Undefeated, and with a great laugh, but deathly miserable, I was the first to stumble out of the meeting room”
("I helped the inconsolable Franz to write a letter of apology to the high official, who luckily turned out to be a considerate person, not without a sense of humor." - Max Brod (somewhere))