Kafka on writing

‘Writing means revealing onesself to excess … This is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why even night is not night enough … I have often thought that the best mode of life for me would be to sit in the innermost room of a spacious locked cellar with my writing things and a lamp. Food would be brought and always put down far away from my room, outside the cellar’s outermost door. The walk to my food, in my dressing gown, through the vaulted cellars, would be my only exercise. I would then return to my table, eat slowly and with deliberation, then start writing again at once. And how I would write! From what depths I would drag it up! without effort!’

– Franz Kafka, ‘Letter, 14–15 January 1913’, in Letters to Felice (trans. James Stern and Elisabeth Duckworth; Minerva: Mandarin Paperbacks, 1992), 184.


  1. On Kafka:
    “He has influenced many authors with his vision of society (often called ‘Kafkaesque’)as a pointless, schizophrenically rational organisation, with tortuous bureaucratic and totalitarian procedures, psychological labyrinths, and masochistic fantasies, into which the bewildered individual has strayed.”

    Now what else does that remind me of……..


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