Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Franz Kafka. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work fuses elements of realism and the fantastic. It typically features isolated protagonists facing bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible socio-bureaucratic powers. It has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity.
His best known works include "Die Verwandlung" ("The Metamorphosis"), Der Process (The Trial), and Das Schloss (The Castle). The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those found in his writing.
Kafka was born into a middle-class German-Jewish family in Prague, the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today the capital of the Czech Republic. He trained as a lawyer and after completing his legal education was employed full-time by an insurance company, forcing him to relegate writing to his spare time.
Over the course of his life, Kafka wrote hundreds of letters to family and close friends, including his father, with whom he had a strained and formal relationship. He became engaged to several women but never married. He died in 1924 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis.
Few of Kafka's works were published during his lifetime: the story collections Betrachtung (Contemplation) and Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor), and individual stories (such as "Die Verwandlung") were published in literary magazines but received little public attention. In his will, Kafka instructed his executor and friend Max Brod to destroy his unfinished works, including his novels Der Process, Das Schloss and Der Verschollene (translated as both Amerika and The Man Who Disappeared), but Brod ignored these instructions. His work has influenced a vast range of writers, critics, artists, and philosophers during the 20th and 21st centuries.
He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn't yet lived.
Even the merest gesture is holy if it is filled with faith.
Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.
You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart.
You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart; imagine my heartbeat when you are in this state.
Sleep is the most innocent creature there is and a sleepless man
the most guilty.
Paths are made by walking.
It is often safer to be in chains than to be free.
If you have food in your jaws you have solved all questions for the time being.
There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction.
No matter how much you keep encouraging someone who is blindfolded to stare through the cloth, he still won't see a thing.
You are free and that is why you are lost.
Not everyone can see the truth, but he can be it.
Every word first looks around in every direction before letting itself be written down by me.
If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without ascending it, the work would have been permitted.
It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.
A First Sign of the Beginning of Understanding is the Wish to Die.
Towards the avoidance of a piece of verbal confusion: What is intended to be actively destroyed must first of all have been firmly grasped; what crumbles away crumbles away, but cannot be destroyed.
Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.
The chains that cuff humanity are made of office paper.
This noble body, equipped with everything necessary, almost to the point of bursting, also appeared to carry freedom around with it.
Everything you say is boring and incomprehensible, but that alone doesn't make it true.
If you were to articulate it, who would be able to resist you? The great chorus of caninity would chime in with you, as if it had just been waiting for this moment.
I asked myself at the time: how is it that she is not astonished at herself, that she keeps her mouth closed, and expresses nothing of any wonderment?
I only fear danger where I want to fear it.
It would be very unjust to say that you deserted me, but that I was deserted, and sometimes terribly so, is true.
Picasso only registers the deformities which have not yet penetrated our consciousness. Art is a mirror which goes 'fast' like a watch -- sometimes.
I am a retiring, silent, unsociable, and discontent person.
One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back into the darkness of the Ark.
Silence, I believe, avoids me, as water on the beach avoids stranded fish.
The true way goes over a line that, rather than spanning heights, is hardly above the ground. It appears more decidedly to make one trip than to be walked along.
There is a destination but no way there; what we refer to as way is hesitation.
You are so vulnerably haunting. Your eeriness is terrifyingly irresistible.
It is only because of their stupidity that they are able to be so sure of themselves.
To animalise is humane, to humanise is animal.
This morning, for the first time in a long time, the joy again of imagining a knife twisted in my heart.
I always succeed in not being jealous but only sometimes in comprehending the pointlessness of jealousy.
Wherever I turn, the black wave rushes down on me.
All right then, I'll be mad at you on this score, which incidentally is no great misfortune, as things balance out quite well if there's a little anger for you lurking in one corner of my heart.
I carry the bars within me.
All I am is literature, and I am not able or willing to be anything else.
Kill me, or you are a murderer.
A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000-word document and calls it a brief.
People label themselves with all sorts of adjectives. I can only pronounce myself as 'nauseatingly miserable beyond repair'.
Two tasks at the beginning of your life: to narrow your orbit more and more, and ever and again to check whether you are not in hiding somewhere outside your orbit.
The relief of giving in to destruction.
It occurs to me that I really can't remember your face in any precise detail. Only the way you walked away through the tables in the café, your figure, your dress, that I still see.
He is a land surveyor, well, perhaps that is something, he has trained at something, but if there's nothing you can do with that training then it means nothing.
The purpose of a story is to be an axe that breaks up the ice within us.
The existence of the writer is an argument against the existence of the soul, for the soul has obviously taken flight from the real ego, but not improved itself, only become a writer.
But all remains unchanged.
But what if all the tranquility, all the comfort, all the contentment were now to come to a horrifying end?
How unreasonable I'm being!
In a way, I was safe writing.
I do not see the world at all; I invent it.
From the true antagonist illimitable courage is transmitted to you.
To what indifference people may come, to what profound conviction of having lost the right track forever.
I am fond of lovers but I cannot love, I am too far away, am banished,.
Nothing is as deceptive as a photograph.
Agreement is the best weapon of defense―and the matter would be buried.
From a real antagonist one gains boundless courage.
The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens. There is no doubt of that, but it proves nothing against the heavens, for heaven simply means: the impossibility of crows.
It's sometimes quite astonishing that a single, average life is enough to encompass so much that it's at all possible ever to have any success in one's work here.
I am away from home and must always write home, even if any home of mine has long since floated away into eternity.
There is nothing bad to fear; once you have crossed that threshold, all is well. Another world, and you do not have to speak.
I passed by the brothel as though
past the house of a beloved.
What is written is merely the dregs of experience.
Faith, like a guillotine. As heavy, as light.
Only our concept of time makes it possible for us to speak of the Day of Judgement by that name; in reality it is a constant court in perpetual session.