Franz Kafka

(3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924 / Prague, Bohemia)

Franz Kafka Quotes

  • ''Martyrs do not underrate the body, they allow it to be elevated on the cross. In this they are at one with their antagonists.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Prague German Jewish author, novelist. The Third Notebook, November 21, 1917. The Blue Octavo Notebooks, ed. Max Brod, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. Exact Change, Cambridge, MA (1991). Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, New York, Schocken Books (1954).
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  • ''The true way leads along a tightrope not stretched aloft but just above the ground. It seems designed more to trip one than to be walked along.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Czech novelist, short-story writer. (written Oct. 1917-Feb. 1918). The Collected Aphorisms, vol. 1, no. 1, Shorter Works, ed. and trans. by Malcolm Pasley (1973).
  • ''Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Prague German Jewish author, novelist. The Third Notebook, November 10, 1917. The Blue Octavo Notebooks, ed. Max Brod, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. Exact Change, Cambridge, MA (1991). Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, New York, Schocken Books (1954).
  • ''How can one take delight in the world unless one flees to it for refuge?''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), German novelist, short-story writer. The Collected Aphorisms, no. 25 (Oct. 1917-Feb. 1918), published in Shorter Works, vol. 1, ed. and trans. by Malcolm Pasley (1973).
  • ''In theory there is a possibility of perfect happiness: To believe in the indestructible element within one, and not to strive towards it.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), German novelist, short-story writer. Published in Shorter Works, vol. 1, ed. and trans. by Malcolm Pasley (1973). The Collected Aphorisms, no. 68 (October 1917-February 1918).
  • ''How pathetically scanty my self-knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room.... There is no such thing as observation of the inner world, as there is of the outer world.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Prague German Jewish author, novelist. The Third Notebook, October 18, 1917. The Blue Octavo Notebooks, ed. Max Brod, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. Exact Change, Cambridge, MA (1991). Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, New York, Schocken Books (1954).
  • ''Anyone who believes cannot experience miracles. By day one does not see any stars. Anyone who does miracles says: I cannot let go of the earth.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Prague German Jewish author, novelist. The Third Notebook, November 21, 1917. The Blue Octavo Notebooks, ed. Max Brod, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. Exact Change, Cambridge, MA (1991). Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, New York, Schocken Books (1954).
  • ''Hesitation before birth. If there is a transmigration of souls then I am not yet on the bottom rung. My life is a hesitation before birth.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Prague German Jewish author, novelist. Entry January 23, 1922. The Diaries of Franz Kafka 1914-1923, ed. Max Brod, trans. by Martin Greenberg and Hannah Arendt, New York, Schocken Books (1949).
  • ''Our art is a way of being dazzled by truth: the light on the grotesquely grimacing retreating face is true, and nothing else.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Prague German Jewish author, novelist. The Third Notebook, December 11, 1917. The Blue Octavo Notebooks, ed. Max Brod, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins. Exact Change, Cambridge, MA (1991). Dearest Father: Stories and Other Writings, trans. by Ernst Kaiser and Eithne Wilkins, New York, Schocken Books (1954).
  • ''Life's splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come.''
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924), German novelist, short-story writer. The Diaries of Franz Kafka: 1910-1923, entry for October 18, 1921, ed. Max Brod (1948).

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