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Monday, 30 July 2012

Arguments for and against Kafka's marriage

1/ Inability to endure life alone, which does not imply inability to live, quite contrary, it is even improbable that I know how to live with anyone, but I am incapable, alone, of bearing the assault of my own life, the demands of my own person, the attacks of time and old age, the vague pressure of the desire to write, sleeplessness, the nearness of insanity- I cannot bear all this alone. I naturally add a 'perhaps' to this. The connexion with F will give my existence more strength to resist. 
2/ Everything immediately gives me pause. Every joke in the comic paper, what I remember about Flaubert and Grillparzer, the sight of the nightshirts on my parents' beds, laid out for the night, Max's marriage. Yesterday my sister said, 'All the married people (that we know) are happy, I don't understand it,' this remark too gave me pause, I became afraid again. 
3/ I must be alone a great deal. What I accomplished was only the result of being alone. 
4/ I hate everything that does not relate to literature, conversations bore me (even if they relate to literature), to visit people bores me, the sorrows and joys of my relatives bore me to my soul. Conversations take the importance, the seriousness, the truth of everything I think. 
5/ The fear of the connexion, of passing into the other. Then I'll never be alone again. 
6/ In the past, especially, the person I am in the company of my sisters has been entirely different from the person I am in the company of other people. Fearless, powerful, surprising, moved as I otherwise am only when I write. If through the intermediation of my wife I could be like that in the presence of everyone! But then would it not be at the expense of my writing? Not that, not that! 
7/ Alone, I could perhaps some day really give up my job. Married, it will never be possible. 


Written by Kafka himself in his diary on 21/7/1913. 
I came across this passage as I flipped through the pages of his diary and looked for something else, and the 1st thought that popped into my mind was to put it up here on my blog, for no particular reason. 

1 comment:

  1. And here, an excerpt from his letter to Milena:
    "If marriage is to make sense it has to have a broader and more realistic basis than a longing for happiness. My God, let's not be afraid of a little bit of suffering, a little bit of pain and unhappiness. Try it, go out some night and stand face to face with the stars, look up carefully, sincerely, strain for at least five minutes. Or climb up some mountain where you can look down on the Earth almost as if you were in heaven. And after a while you'll find yourself believing in the importance of life, and the insignificance of happiness. Happiness! As if being happy depended on us alone!"

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