Even though Franz Kafka is one of the greatest, most popular, and most influential authors of the twentieth century, he has to this day remained inexplicable, and his life and literary legacy are subject to various interpretations. These diaries offer us a glimpse into the real Kafka, the man behind the mysterious artist, with all his feelings, fears, ambitions, and dreams.
Covering the time from 1909 to 1923, just a year before the author’s untimely demise, Diaries open the gates to Kafka’s world, providing us with extremely interesting notes about the cultural and social life in Prague at the beginning of the twentieth century. No less interesting are Kafka’s notes on his feelings towards his father who he loved and with whom, due to the ambitions he was trying to pass onto his son, he never managed to establish a harmonious relationship, towards his friend and biographer Max Brod, and to the woman he never married. Finally, his notes of dreams, filled with a constant feeling of guilt and Kafka’s struggle to prove himself as a writer to a world led by dark and unknown mechanisms, fascinate.
Diaries aren’t just necessary to understand Kafka and his novels and short stories, they are an easily legible display of one incredibly turbulent life that makes us think.
When I question myself about my ultimate purpose, it turns out that I am not really striving to become a good man and to be in accordance with the highest commandment, but, on the contrary, I am striving to look at the whole community, human and animal, their special tendencies, desires, moral ideals, to reduce them to simple regulations and to develop as soon as possible in the direction of becoming acceptable to everyone in all respects and so much to the will of everyone that I would be allowed, without losing general love, finally as the only sinner who will not be burned, to openly carry out the simplicity that resides in me, in front of everyone's eyes. In short, I only care about the judgment of the people, and I would like to deceive that judgment, though not to commit deception.
* * *
Is it possible for me to know the future first through reason and desire, first in its cold outlines, and only then, stimulated by them, gradually arrive at that same future?
* * *
Have mercy on me, I am sinful with every part of my being. But I had quite decent inclinations, good little talents, I squandered them, ignorant as I was, now I am near the end, just at the time when everything might finally turn for the better for me. Do not cast me among the lost. I know that it speaks of my ridiculous self-love, whether seen up close or from afar, but since I'm alive, I also have self-love, and if life isn't funny, then its expressions can't be funny either.
* * *
You have a chance for a new beginning, as much as such a chance exists. Don't waste it. If you want to immerse into your inner self, you will not be able to avoid the filth that comes out of you. But don't wallow in it.
- ISBN: 978-953-369-025-4
- Unit ISBN: 978-953-369-004-9
- Dimensions: 142×205 mm
- Number of pages: 220
- Cover: paperback
- Year of the edition: 2023
- Original title: Tagebücher
- Original language: German
- Translation: Nadežda Čačinovič