Showing posts with label franz kafka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label franz kafka. Show all posts

Sunday, November 13

On Reading What One Likes

Kafka, through Davis, on reading:
But at other times, I sit here reading in the afternoon, a myrtle in my buttonhole, and there are such beautiful passages in the book that I think I have become beautiful myself.
-from the story "Kafka Cooks Dinner," by Lydia Davis, included in the collection Varieties of Disturbance (2007).

Borges on reading:
Really, I think of myself of being essentially a reader. But, of course, as you are aware, I have ventured into writing. But I think what I have read is, of course, far more important than what I have written. For one reads what one likes, and one writes, not what one would like to write, but what one is able to write.
-from the lecture “A Poet’s Creed,” delivered by Borges while at Harvard University in 1967-68. All eight completely amazing lectures from the period are up for free at ubuweb. Since discovering them in August, via Vol. 1 Brooklyn (who, in turn, discovered them via the Twitter feed of Sasha Frere-Jones), I've listened to the lectures constantly, often before going to bed. Fittingly, almost every time I've awoken in the morning with the recollection of having had some sort of strange dream.

Monday, March 14

Kiss from a ghost? Kissed by a ghost?

"Letter writing is an intercourse with ghosts, not only with the ghost of the receiver, but with one's own, which emerges between the lines between the letter being written ... Written kisses never reach their destination, but are drunk en route by these ghosts."

-Franz Kafka, from R. Crumb's and David Zane Marowitz's graphic biography Kafka

Thursday, February 17

Cage's birds, Tillman's birds, Kafka's watchman

"We are free as birds. Only the birds aren't free. We are as committed as birds, and identically."

-John Cage, A Year from Monday


"...their travails necessitated small, light brains; otherwise, with heavier, bigger brains, how could they manage flight and why would they go on living like that? If they could think, they might think, as many humans do, life is meaningless if all I do is fly back and forth."

-Lynne Tillman, "That's How Wrong My Love Is," Someday This Will All Be Funny


"I ran past the first watchman. Then I was horrified, ran back again and said to the watchman: 'I ran through here while you were looking the other way.' The watchman gazed in front of him and said nothing. 'I suppose I really oughtn't to have done it,' I said. The watchman still said nothing. 'Does your silence indicate permission to pass?' ..."

-Franz Kafka, "The Watchman," Parables and Paradoxes

Monday, January 24

i bought some sweet old books

i'm a big fan of old books and their covers. there are a lot of things to like about old editions--their uniqueness, their often beautiful and surprising covers, their generally lower price (though of course there are exceptions). here are a few of my favorites i've gotten recently:

The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O'Connor (FSG, Eleventh Printing, 1979)
$6, New York, NY

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov (Avon, 1957)
$18, New York, NY

The Trial by Franz Kafka (The Modern Library, First Printing, 1975)
$5, Brooklyn, NY

  Pan by Knut Hamsun (Noonday, Tenth Printing, 1968)
$1.50, Lawrence, KS 

The Waves by Virginia Woolf (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1959)
$5, Peterborough, NH

Woodcutters by Thomas Bernhard (Knopf, First Printing, 1987)
A gift, Brooklyn, NY

The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima (Tuttle, Fifth Printing, 1972)
$2, Lawrence, KS

A Year from Monday: New Lectures and Writings by John Cage
(Wesleyan University Press, Second Printing, July 1970)
$15, New York, NY

The Box Man by Kobo Abe (Knopf, First Printing, 1974)
$6, Brooklyn, NY

The Book of Sand by Jorge Luis Borges (Dutton, First Printing, 1978)
$5, Peterborough, NH

 Dubliners by James Joyce (Viking/Compass, Twelfth Printing, October 1973)
$2, Lawrence, KS

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner, 1970)
$.50, Anderson, SC