letters to Milena

Power Quote: Kafka on writing

“It is, in fact, an intercourse with ghosts, and not only with the ghost of the recipient but also with one’s own ghost which develops between the lines of the letter one is writing and even more so in a series of letters where one letter corroborates the other and can refer to it as a witness.”

Franz Kafka, from a letter to Milena

I suspect by “letters” he means, generically, the written word, though he could also be referring to letters, the medium with which he is writing to Milena — or, and this is my fancy, he could mean the letters which make up words themselves, thus dramatically altering exactly what is “[in]between the lines” and their respective “corroborations,” a funny yet telling invocation which hints at some complicity, as if writing is a shameful lie. His “intercourse with ghosts,” short of necrophilia, simply tells of a man who replaced love with words. (One should see desire in the pulp of paper.) Think about Kafka long enough, and you enter a dark tunnel. Don’t think about him, and your world too perfect, untouched.

Power Quote / 8 Comments
February 18th, 2010 / 12:52 pm