Franz Kafka Quotes

33 of the best book quotes from Franz Kafka
“Sometimes during the hours of the watch, overcoming his weakness, he sang for as long as he could so as to show these people how unjust their suspicions were […] they were merely amazed at his dexterity in managing to eat even while singing.”
″[…] the starvation artist did not lose sight of reality and accepted it as perfectly natural that he, with his cage, should not be placed as, let us say, a showstopper in the center ring but installed outside at a quite easily accessible spot, close to the animal sheds.”
“Who knew where they would tuck him away if he tried to make them aware of his existence, and therefore also of the fact that, strictly speaking, he has nothing more than an obstacle on the way to the animal sheds.”
“There were also permanent watchmen, chosen by the public – oddly enough, usually butchers – whose job it was, always three at a time, to watch the starvation artist day and night.”
“Into the cage they put a young panther […] he did not even seem to miss his freedom; this noble body, equipped just short of bursting with everything it needed, seemed to carry its freedom around with it.”
“The prospect of those visiting hours, for which the starvation artist naturally yearned, since they were the meaning of his life, also made him shudder.”
“Then again, he shrank completely into himself once more, concerned with no one.”
“Only he could also be the perfectly assured spectator of his fast.”
“Try to explain the art of starving to someone! Those who have no feel for it can never be made to understand.”
″[…] the starvation artist might respond with an outbreak of rage and, to everyone’s horror, begin to rattle the bars of his cage like an animal.”
“For he alone, and no other initiate, knew how easy it was to starve. It was the easiest thing in the world. He did not keep this fact a secret, but no one believed him.”
“I could not find the food I liked. If I had found it, believe me, I would not have caused a sensation, and I would have stuffed myself just like you and all the others.”
“And so he lived […] in apparent glory, honored by the world, but for all that usually in a melancholy mood, which grew increasingly so because no one was able to take it seriously.”
“No one, not even the starvation artist himself knew how great his achievement really was, and his heart grew heavy.”
″[…] he felt no limits to his ability to starve.”
“Experience had proven that for about forty days, through gradually intensified publicity, you could go on stimulating a city’s interest, but beyond that time there was no audience.”
“Why did the crowd, which pretended to admire him so much, have so little patience with him?”
“No one had any reason to be dissatisfied with what he had seen – no one, that is, except for the starvation artist, he alone, always.”
“Forgive me, all of you,” the starvation artist whispered.
“He was prepared to joke with them, to tell them stories from his journeyman years, and in turn to listen to their stories, anything just so as to keep them awake, to be able to show them again and again that he had nothing edible in the cage, and that he starved in a way that not one of them could.”
“You are the knife I turn inside myself; this is love.”
“Written kisses don’t reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts.”
“I miss you deeply, unfathomably, senselessly, terribly.”
“How else is the soul to free itself from burden except by a little malice?”
″...children take everything seriously and do not recognize impossibility, they can fail ten times in an attempt to knock something over and still be convinced that the next try will succeed.”
″... remember a human can’t last for long without a heartbeat, and as long as you are turned away how can my heart go on beating?”
“He was a tool of the boss, without brains or backbone.”
“His parents – who had never rented out rooms before and therefore behaved toward the roomers with excessive politeness – did not even dare to sit down on their own chairs.”
“She came in on tiptoe, as if she were visiting someone seriously ill or perhaps even a stranger.”
“It hardly surprised him that lately he was showing so little consideration for the others; once such consideration had been his greatest pride.”
“He would have to lie low and, by being patient and showing his family every possible consideration, help them bear the inconvenience which he simply had to cause them in his present condition.”
“Doesn’t it look as if by removing his furniture we were showing him that we have given up all hope of his getting better and are leaving him to his own devices without any consideration?”
“If it were Gregor, he would have realized long ago that it isn’t possible for human beings to live with such a creature, and he would have gone away of his own free will. Then we wouldn’t have a brother, but we’d be able to go on living and honor his memory. But as things are, this animal persecutes us, drives the roomers away, obviously wants to occupy the whole apartment and for us to sleep in the gutter.”

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