Franz Kafka Quotes


Franz Kafka Quotes provoke contemplation and introspection, addressing universal themes that continue to be relevant in contemporary society. Kafka’s literary works, including his quotes, have made a significant impact on literature, philosophy, and the understanding of the human experience.

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was a renowned German-language writer and novelist of Jewish descent, known for his deeply introspective and existential works. Born on July 3, 1883, in Prague, which was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Kafka’s literary contributions have had a profound impact on 20th-century literature.

Kafka was the eldest son of a middle-class Jewish family, and he grew up in a predominantly German-speaking community. He studied law at the German University of Prague, where he developed a passion for literature and writing. Despite his interest in literature, Kafka worked for most of his professional life in an insurance company, a job that left him with limited time for writing.

Kafka’s writing style is characterized by its nightmarish and surreal atmosphere, exploring themes of alienation, guilt, and the existential struggles of the individual in a seemingly absurd and hostile world. His works often feature complex protagonists who find themselves caught in bureaucratic systems, facing unexplained accusations or grappling with their own existential crises.

Some of Kafka’s most notable works include “The Metamorphosis,” in which the protagonist wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a gigantic insect, and “The Trial,” which follows the protagonist’s mysterious arrest and subsequent trial in a nameless, oppressive legal system. Other well-known works include “The Castle” and “The Hunger Artist.”

During Kafka’s lifetime, only a few of his works were published, and he gained little recognition as a writer. It was only after his death in 1924, from tuberculosis at the age of 40, that his friend Max Brod disregarded Kafka’s dying wish to burn his unpublished manuscripts. Instead, Brod published them posthumously, bringing Kafka’s genius to the attention of the literary world.

Since then, Kafka’s works have become widely regarded as literary classics, influencing numerous writers and thinkers across the globe. His exploration of themes such as isolation, alienation, and the complexities of human existence continues to resonate with readers, making him one of the most celebrated and influential figures in modern literature. Kafka’s legacy as a master of psychological depth and profound introspection remains enduring, captivating readers to this day.

Unleash the power of contemplation and introspection with this captivating collection of Franz Kafka quotes. Join us on a journey of self-discovery as we delve into the depths of Kafka’s profound insights.

Franz Kafka Quotes

1. “Paths are made by walking.”

2. “I am free and that is why I am lost.”

3. “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. - Franz Kafka

4. “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

5. “Evil is whatever distracts.”

6. “There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.”

7. “Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”

8. “I am a cage, in search of a bird.”

9. “Every thing that you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.”

10. “Most men are not wicked. They are sleepwalkers, not evil evildoers.”

11. “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

12. “The meaning of life is that it stops.”

13. “Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.”

14. “Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you any more.”

15. “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”

16. “Follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

17. “Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.”

18. “I have spent all my life resisting the desire to end it.”

19. “I lack nothing. I only needed myself.”

20. “I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”

21. “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”

22. “I miss you deeply, unfathomably, senselessly, terribly.”

23. “If the literature we are reading does not wake us, why then do we read it? A literary work must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us.”

24. “Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.”

Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable. -Franz Kafka

25. “If you find someone who makes you smile, who checks up on you often to see if you’re okay. Who watches out or you and wants the best for you. Who loves and respects you. Don’t let them go. People like that are hard to find.”

26. “I never wish to be easily defined.”

27. “All that you are seeking is also seeking you.”

28. “Isolation is a way to know ourselves.”

29. “There are times when I am convinced I am unfit for any human relationship.”

30. “By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”

31. “I no longer know If I wish to drown myself in love, vodka or the sea.”

32. “I’m tired, can’t think of anything and want only to lay my face in your lap, feel your hand on my head and remain like that through all eternity.”

33. “A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000-word document and calls it a “brief.””

34. “I can love only what I can place so high above me that I cannot reach it.”

35. “Do not waste your time looking for an obstacle – maybe there is none.”

36. “I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.”

37. “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.”

38. “From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.”

39. “Love is a drama of contradictions.”

40. “All language is but a poor translation.”

41. “God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.”

42. “A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die.”

A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die. - Franz Kafka

43. “A book should serve as an axe to the ice inside us.”

44. “In the fight between you and the world, back the world.”

45. “Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.”

46. “Some books seem like a key to unfamiliar rooms in one’s own castle.”

47. “I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.”

48. “What if I slept a little more and forgot about all this nonsense.”

49. “So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.”

50. “We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”

51. “He who seeks does not find, but he who does not seek will be found.”

52. “I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.”

53. “First impressions are always unreliable.”

54. “In man’s struggle against the world, bet on the world.”

55. “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”

56. “I need solitude for my writing; not ‘like a hermit’ – that wouldn’t be enough – but like a dead man.”

57. “If you become involved with me, you will be throwing yourself into the abyss.”

58. “The man in ecstasy and the man drowning: both raise their arms.”

59. “I am more uncertain than I ever was; I feel only the power of life. And I am senselessly empty.”

60. “I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.”

61. “All human errors are impatience, a premature breaking off of methodical procedure, an apparent fencing-in of what is apparently at issue.”

62. “Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.”

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. - Franz Kafka

63. “You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.”

64. “Writing means revealing oneself to excess.”

65. “Simply wait, be quiet, still The world will freely offer itself to you.”

66. “If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?”

67. “To write prescriptions is easy, but to come to an understanding with people is hard.”

68. “One idiot is one idiot. Two idiots are two idiots. Ten thousand idiots are a political party.”

69. “One advantage in keeping a diary is that you become aware with reassuring clarity of the changes which you constantly suffer.”

70. “Suffering is the positive element in this world, indeed it is the only link between this world and the positive.”

71. “The Fathers of the Church were not afraid to go out into the desert because they had a richness in their hearts. But we, with richness all around us, are afraid, because the desert is in our hearts.”

72. “We were expelled from Paradise, but it was not destroyed. The expulsion from Paradise was in one sense a piece of good fortune, for if we had not been expelled, Paradise would have had to be destroyed.”

73. “The thornbush is the old obstacle in the road. It must catch fire if you want to go further.”

74. “We are separated from God on two sides; the Fall separates us from Him, the Tree of Life separates Him from us.”

75. “No one can crave what truly harms him.”

76. “Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.”

77. “Hold fast to the diary from today on! Write regularly! Don’t surrender! Even if no salvation should come, I want to be worthy of it every moment.”

78. “Logic may indeed be unshakeable, but it cannot withstand a man who is determined to live.”

79. “The truth is always an abyss. One must – as in a swimming pool – dare to dive from the quivering springboard of trivial everyday experience and sink into the depths, in order to later rise again – laughing and fighting for breath – to the now doubly illuminated surface of things.”

80. “One reads in order to ask questions.”

81. “Picasso only registers the deformities which have not yet penetrated our consciousness. Art is a mirror which goes ‘fast’ like a watch – sometimes.”

82. “You are so vulnerably haunting. Your eeriness is terrifyingly irresistible.”

You are so vulnerably haunting. Your eeriness is terrifyingly irresistible. - Franz Kafka

83. “Evil is the radiation of the human consciousness in certain transitional positions. It is not actually the sensual world that is amere appearance; what is so is the evil of it, which, admittedly, is what constitutes the sensual world in our eyes.”

84. “Not everyone can see the truth, but he can be it.”

85. “Celibacy and suicide are a similar levels of understanding, suicide and a martyr’s death not so by any means, perhaps marriage and a martyr’s death.”

86. “The mediation by the serpent was necessary. Evil can seduce man, but cannot become man.”

87. “Every dog has like me the impulse to question, and I have like every dog the impulse not to answer.”

88. “Death confronts us not unlike the historical battle scene that hangs on the wall of the classroom. It is our task to obscure or quite obliterate the picture by our deeds while we are still in this world.”

89. “How pathetically scanty my self-knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room. There is no such thing as observation of the inner world, as there is of the outer world.”

90. “The dream reveals the reality which conception lags behind. That is the horror of life-the terror of art.”

91. “It would have been so pointless to kill himself that, even if he had wanted to, the pointlessness would have made him unable.”

92. “Tyranny or slavery, born of selfishness, are the two educational methods of parents; all gradations of tyranny or slavery.”

93. “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.”

94. “There are questions we could not get past if we were not set free from them by our very nature.”

95. “There is nothing besides a spiritual world; what we call the world of the senses is the Evil in the spiritual world, and what we call Evil is only the necessity of a moment in our eternal evolution.”

96. “Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”

97. “Life is merely terrible; I feel it as few others do. Often – and in my inmost self perhaps all the time – I doubt whether I am a human being.”

98. “Love is, that you are the knife which I plunge into myself.”

99. “I believe that we should only read those books that bite and sting us. If a book does not rouse us with a blow then why read it?”

100. “Either the world is so tiny or we are enormous; in either case, we fill it completely.”

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