Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
If I abandon literature, I'll cease existing.
"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us...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."
"The clocks are not in unison; the inner one runs crazily on at a devilish or demonic or in any case inhuman pace, the outer one limps along at its usual speed. What else can happen but that the worlds split apart, and they do split apart, or at least clash in a fearful manner"
"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.... And how I would write! From what depths I would drag it up! Without effort! For extreme concentration known no effort. The trouble is that I might not be able to keep it up for long, and at the first failure... would be bound to end in a grandiose fit of madness."
"I have powerfully assumed the negativity of my times"
"The tremendous world I have inside my head. But how free myself and free it without being torn to pieces. And a thousand times rather be torn to pieces than retain it in me or bury it. That, indeed, is why I am here, that is quite clear to me."
"Self satisfaction will be punished."