Dasein, Red Elephant.

The Diaries of Franz Kafka


Kafka's fascinating diary entries from 1910 – 1923 can be read online in the form of a daily weblog, courtesy of the Kafka project and translater Paul Kerschen. In order not to feel too bad about peeking into his diary (which, at times is intensely personal), I've decided to imagine that Kafka is just another interesting blogger that I read on a regular basis. A torturous entry in 1910 begins:

When it was becoming unbearable – toward one evening in November – and I ran over the narrow rug of my room as along a racetrack, again took fright at the sight of the illuminated street, and yet again found a new destination in the depths of the room at the back of the mirror, and cry out, just to hear the cry, which is answered by nothing and which also relieves nothing of the cry’s force, so that it rises up without a counterweight and cannot stop even if it falls silent, then the door opened out from the wall, so hastily, since haste was badly needed, and even the cart-horses down on the pavement raised themselves on their spread hind legs like horses turned wild in some battle, their throats surrendered.

According to Kerschen, Kafka published this piece, slightly revised and with a few paragraphs added, under the title "Unglücklichsein" ("Unhappiness") as the final story in his 1913 collection Betrachtung (Meditation).

In one of my favorite entries, Kafka blogs writes about how he spent a Sunday:

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

In another short 1910 entry, Kafka talks about Goethe:

Read a bit of Goethe’s diaries. Distance already holds his life firmly in peace, these diaries set fire to it. The clarity of all the events makes them mysterious, just as a park railing gives the eyes rest from viewing the expanse of farther lawns and yet causes us no corresponding admiration.

It seems the same could be said about his very own diary.

Rest well..K. We miss you.

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