Kafka Quotes

Quotes tagged as "kafka" Showing 1-30 of 123
Franz Kafka
“He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn’t yet lived.”
Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka
“I have spent all my life resisting the desire to end it.”
Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena

Franz Kafka
“You are the knife I turn inside myself; that is love. That, my dear, is love.”
Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena

Franz Kafka
“I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more”
Franz Kafka, The Castle

Franz Kafka
“sleep is the most innocent creature there is and a sleepless man
the most guilty.”
Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena

Franz Kafka
“Even if no salvation should come, I want to be worthy of it at every moment.”
Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka
“The books we need are of the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that makes us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, lost in a forest remote from all human habitation.”
Franz Kafka, The Trial

Franz Kafka
“But sleep? On a night like this? What an idea! Just think of how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.”
Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka
“Self-control is something for which I do not strive. Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence.”
Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka
“I carry the bars within me.”
Franz Kafka

Jonathan Safran Foer
“This brings me back to the image of Kafka standing before a fish in the Berlin aquarium, a fish on which his gaze fell in a newly found peace after he decided not to eat animals. Kafka recognized that fish as a member of his invisible family- not as his equal, of course, but as another being that was his concern.”
Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Milan Kundera
“Do you realize that people don't know how to read Kafka simply because they want to decipher him? Instead of letting themselves be carried away by his unequaled imagination, they look for allegories — and come up with nothing but clichés: life is absurd (or it is not absurd), God is beyond reach (or within reach), etc. You can understand nothing about art, particularly modern art, if you do not understand that imagination is a value in itself.”
Milan Kundera
tags: kafka

Franz Kafka
“Every thing you love is very likely to be lost, but in the end, love will return in a different way.”
Franz Kafka, Kafka's Selected Stories

Christopher Hitchens
“Very often the test of one's allegiance to a cause or to a people is precisely the willingness to stay the course when things are boring, to run the risk of repeating an old argument just one more time, or of going one more round with a hostile or (much worse) indifferent audience. I first became involved with the Czech opposition in 1968 when it was an intoxicating and celebrated cause. Then, during the depressing 1970s and 1980s I was a member of a routine committee that tried with limited success to help the reduced forces of Czech dissent to stay nourished (and published). The most pregnant moment of that commitment was one that I managed to miss at the time: I passed an afternoon with Zdenek Mlynar, exiled former secretary of the Czech Communist Party, who in the bleak early 1950s in Moscow had formed a friendship with a young Russian militant with an evident sense of irony named Mikhail Sergeyevitch Gorbachev. In 1988 I was arrested in Prague for attending a meeting of one of Vaclav Havel's 'Charter 77' committees. That outwardly exciting experience was interesting precisely because of its almost Zen-like tedium. I had gone to Prague determined to be the first visiting writer not to make use of the name Franz Kafka, but the numbing bureaucracy got the better of me. When I asked why I was being detained, I was told that I had no need to know the reason! Totalitarianism is itself a cliché (as well as a tundra of pulverizing boredom) and it forced the cliché upon me in turn. I did have to mention Kafka in my eventual story. The regime fell not very much later, as I had slightly foreseen in that same piece that it would. (I had happened to notice that the young Czechs arrested with us were not at all frightened by the police, as their older mentors had been and still were, and also that the police themselves were almost fatigued by their job. This was totalitarianism practically yawning itself to death.) A couple of years after that I was overcome to be invited to an official reception in Prague, to thank those who had been consistent friends through the stultifying years of what 'The Party' had so perfectly termed 'normalization.' As with my tiny moment with Nelson Mandela, a whole historic stretch of nothingness and depression, combined with the long and deep insult of having to be pushed around by boring and mediocre people, could be at least partially canceled and annealed by one flash of humor and charm and generosity.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Franz Kafka
“But what if all the tranquility, all the comfort, all the contentment were now to come to a horrifying end?”
Franz Kafka

Eugenio Montale
“No writer in our time has been more isolated than Kafka, and yet few have achieved communication as well as he did.”
Eugenio Montale

Jorge Luis Borges
“The three of them knew it. She was Kafka’s mistress. Kafka had dreamt her. The three of them knew it. He was Kafka’s friend. Kafka had dreamt him. The three of them knew it. The woman said to the friend, Tonight I want you to have me. The three of them knew it. The man replied: If we sin, Kafka will stop dreaming us. One of them knew it. There was no longer anyone on earth. Kafka said to himself Now the two of them have gone, I’m left alone. I’ll stop dreaming myself.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Günther Anders
“If anything in Kafka's theology can be called Jewish, it is his virtual lack of any concept of 'Nature'. There is in a sense no 'Nature' in Genesis either, since the world is created for man. There may, however, be more modern reasons for the absence of this concept in Kafka's case. His position here resembles that of Heidegger, whose Existential philosophy represents an attack on Naturalism (while adopting its atheistic presuppositions) and therefore finds no place for nature as such, but only for the world in so far as the world exists 'for human existence', i.e., as 'material'. Heidegger and Kafka are radically original in that aspect of their thought which does away with the natural and the supernatural at the same time. In Kafka the absence of Nature is due to the fact that for him what might be termed the 'institutionalization' of the world is total, indeed totalitarian. There is no room in it for that unoccupied and unused space beyond the sphere of human needs which we are in the habit of revering or enjoying as 'Nature'. Yet there is truth in Kafka's omission of Nature from his world, to the extent that the mechanized civilization of to-day may be described as appropriating and exploiting everything there is as raw material or fuel, and destroying whatever cannot be exploited—even human beings.”
Günther Anders, Kafka pro und contra: Die Prozess-Unterlagen.

George Steiner
“If, in the Judaic perception, the language of the Adamic was that of love, the grammars of fallen man are those of the legal code.”
George Steiner

Franz Kafka
“When the little mouse, which was loved as none other was in the mouse-world, got into a trap one night and with a shrill scream forfeited its life for the sight of the bacon, all the mice in the district, in their holes were overcome by trembling and shaking; with eyes blinking uncontrollably they gazed at each other one by one, while their tails scraped the ground busily and senselessly. Then they came out, hesitantly, pushing one another, all drawn towards the scene of death. There it lay, the dear little mouse, its neck caught in the deadly iron, the little pink legs drawn up, and now stiff the feeble body that would so well have deserved a scrap of bacon.
The parents stood beside it and eyed their child's remains.”
Franz Kafka, Blue Octavo Notebooks

Franz Kafka
“Yet even if I manage that, one single slip, and a slip cannot be avoided, will stop the whole process, easy and painful alike, and I will have to shrink back into my own circle again.”
Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka
“There were dark hours, of course, such as came to everybody, in which you thought you had achieved nothing at all, in which it seemed to you that only the cases predestined from the start to seucceed came to a good end, which they would have reached in any event without your help, while every one of the others was doomed to fail in spite of all your manœuvres, all your exertions, all the illusory little victories on which you plumed yourself.”
Franz Kafka, The Trial

Franz Kafka
“san otkriva stvarnost za kojom predstava zaostaje.strashno potiche od zhivota – potresno od umetnosti.”
Franz Kafka
tags: kafka

Jorge Luis Borges
“Yo he escrito también algunos cuentos en los cuales traté ambiciosa e inultimente de ser Kafka”
Jorge Luis Borges

“...over and over, you would like to be recognized according to your own self, your own person, your own heart's inclination-but they always ask only what you have done, and really, if you look at it rationally, they have nothing else by which they can judge your state of mind except the manifestations of that state of mind.”
Max Brod, Franz Kafka: a biography
tags: kafka

“The soul can only blossom forth to its sublime and rare capacities when it feels it is being met with faith.”
Max Brod, Franz Kafka: a biography
tags: kafka

Lulu Miller
“Kafka calls it the Indestructible—the thing at the bottom of each individual that keeps going whether they feel like going or not. The Indestructible is a place that has nothing to do with optimism—instead, it’s something far deeper and far less self-conscious than optimism—the Indestructible is the thing we mask with all sorts of other symbols, hopes, and ambitions—that don’t force you to acknowledge what is underneath. Well…if you do (or are forced to) remove all those excesses, you get the Indestructible, and once you acknowledge it, Kafka goes deeper—he doesn’t let you think the Indestructible is optimistic or positive—instead it is the thing that could actually rip us apart and destroy us…”
Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don't Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

Franz Kafka
“If I closely examine what is my ultimate aim, it turns out that I am not really striving to be good and to fulfil the demands of a Supreme Judgement, but rather very much the contrary: I strive to know the whole human and animal community, to recognize their basic predilections, desires, moral ideals, to reduce these to simple rules and as quickly as possible trim my behaviour to these rules in order that I may find favour in the whole world’s eyes; and, indeed (this is the inconsistency), so much favour that in the end I could openly perpetrate the iniquities within me without alienating the universal love in which I am held –the only sinner who won’t be roasted. To sum up, then, my sole concern is the human tribunal, which I wish to deceive, moreover, though without practising any actual deception.”
Franz Kafka, Diaries, 1910-1923

“...the parents are the first problem a child comes up against, the first resistance he has to assert himself against; his arguments with them are the model for all his later fights in life.”
Max Brod, Franz Kafka: a biography
tags: kafka

Franz Kafka
“For humans the idea of freedom is all too often a means of deceiving themselves. And although freedom is among the most exalted of feelings, so is the illusion of freedom among the most exalted of illusions.”
Franz Kafka, The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories

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