February 23. Unwritten letter.
–Kafka, The Blue Octavo Notebooks (Fourth Notebook)
They were given the choice of becoming kings or the kings’ messengers. As is the way with children, they all wanted to be messengers. That is why there are only messengers, racing through the world and, since there are no kings, calling out to each other the messages that have now become meaningless. They would gladly put an end to their miserable life, but they do not dare to do so because of their oath of loyalty.
–Kafka, Blue Octavo Notebooks (Third Notebook)
May 20th, 2009 / 4:25 pm
Something Baffling, Something Bloom: In which I follow H.B.’s advice and start reading Kafka’s Blue Octavo Notebooks
February 19, 1917.
Today read Hermann und Dorothea, passages from Richter’s Memoirs, looked at pictures by him, and finally read a scene from Hauptmann’s Griselda. For the brief span of the next hour am a different person. True, all prospects as misty as ever, but pictures in the mist now different. The man in heavy boots I have put on today for the first time (they were originally intended for military service) is a different person.
–The First Notebook
May 14th, 2009 / 4:12 pm
This one’s for my homies who asked for a more detailed commentary on Dickens/Bloom that I don’t have time to offer up this week.
One of the blessings of Dickens’s powerful influence on Kafka is the altogether Borgesian impact of Kafka on our understanding of Dickens.
– The Western Canon, “The Canonical Novel: Dickens’s Bleak House and George Eliot’s Middlemarch“