Franz Kafka

Austria
3 Jul 1883 // 3 Jun 1924
Writer

Texts

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An Honest Intention of Walking On (1)

If you were walking across a plain, had an honest intention of walking on, and yet kept regressing, then it would be a desperate matter; but since you are scrambling up a cliff, about as steep as you...
The Zurau Aphorisms

The Beginnings of Understanding (2)

One of the first signs of the beginnings of understanding is the wish to die. This life appears unbearable, another unattainable. One is no longer ashamed of wanting to die; one asks to be moved from...
The Zurau Aphorisms

Impatience and Indolence (3)

There are two main human sins, from which all the others derive: impatience and indolence. It was because of impatience that they were expelled from paradise; it is because of indolence that they do ...
The Zurau Aphorisms

We Need the Books that Affect Us (4)

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? (...) We need the books t...

Love as Some Kind of Sorcery (5)

Once again I have told you so little, and have asked no questions, and once again I must close. But not a single answer and, even more certainly, not a single question shall be lost. There exists som...
Letters to Felice

The Pleasure of Your Letters (6)

I read the letter once, put it aside, and read it again; I pick up a file but am really only reading your letter; I am with the typist, to whom I am supposed to dictate, and again your letter slowly ...
Letters to Felice

To Be a Bachelor (7)

It seems so dreadful to be a bachelor, to become an old man struggling to keep one's dignity while begging for an invitation whenever one wants to spend an evening in company, having to carry one's m...
Diaries

A State of Delicate Balance (8)

One must lie low, no matter how much it went against the grain, and try to understand that this great organization remained, so to speak, in a state of delicate balance, and that if someone took it u...
The Trial

This is Love (9)

When one is alone, imperfection must be endured every minute of the day; a couple, however, does not have to put up with it. Arenít our eyes made to be torn out, and our hearts for the same purpose? ...
Letters to Milena

Fear Spread to Everything (10)

I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something I only feel in my bones and which can only be experienced in those bones. Ba...
Letters to Milena
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays