Suitcase Notes: Kafka’s Diaries, 1910


Night of comets, 17-18 May. 

Together with Blei, his wife and child, from time to time listened to myself outside of myself, it sounded like the whimpering of a young cat.

How many days have again gone silently by; today is 28 May. Have I not even the resolution to take this penholder, this piece of wood, in my hand every day? I really think I do not. I row, ride, swim, lie in the sun. Therefore my calves are good, my thighs not bad, my belly will pass muster, but my chest is very shabby and if my head set low between my shoulders –

Sunday, 19 July, slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

When I think about it, I must say that my education has done me great harm in some respects. I was not, as a matter of fact, educated in any out-of-the-way place, in a ruin, say, in the mountains – something against which in fact I could not have brought myself to say a word of reproach.

…Forgotten energy may hold these persons fast in memory, but they would hardly have any ground left under them and even their legs would have already turned to smoke….But indeed one cannot even do as much as make them remember those times, no person can compel them to do so; obviously one cannot mention compulsion at all, they can remember nothing, and if you press them, they push you dumbly aside, for most probably they do not even hear the words. Like tired dogs they stand there, because they use up all their strength in remaining upright in one’s memory.

…On the other hand, I can prove at any time that my education tried to make another person out of me than the one I became.

It is reported, and we are inclined to believe it, that when men are in danger they have no consideration even for beautiful strange women; they shove them against walls, shove them with head and hands, knees and elbows, if these women happen only to be in the way of their flight from the burning theatre. At this point our chattering women fall silent, their endless talking reaches a verb and a period, their eyebrows rise out of their resting places, the rhythmic movement of their thighs and hips is interrupted; into their mouths, only loosely closed by fear, more air than usual enters and their cheeks seem a little puffed out.


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