sábado, 6 de julho de 2013

The Malignant Look by Franz Kafka: The Spirit of 1914

2 August. 1914 Germany has declared war on Russia-Swimming in the afternoon.

6 August. 1914 The artillery that marched across the Graben. Flowers, shouts of hurrah! and nazdar! The rigidly silent, astonished, attentive black face with black eyes.

I am more broken down than recovered. An empty vessel, still intact yet already in the dust among the broken fragments; or already in fragments yet still ranged among those that are intact. Full of lies, hate, and envy. Full of incompetence, stupidity, thickheadedness. Full of laziness, weakness, and helplessness. Thirty-one years old. I saw the two agriculturists in Ottla's picture. Young, fresh people possessed of some knowledge and strong enough to put it to use among people who in the nature of things resist their efforts somewhat. One of them leading beautiful horses; the other lies in the grass, the tip of his tongue playing between his lips in his otherwise unmoving and absolutely trustworthy face.

I discover in myself nothing but pettiness, indecision, envy, and hatred against those who are fighting and whom I passionately wish everything evil.

What will be my fate as a writer is very simple. My talent for portraying my dreamlike inner life has thrust all other matters into the background; my life has dwindled dreadfully, nor will it cease to dwindle. Nothing else will ever satisfy me. But the strength I can muster for that portrayal is not to be counted upon: perhaps it has already vanished forever, perhaps it will come back to me again, although the circumstances of my life don't favor its return.

Thus I waver, continually fly to the summit of the mountain, but then fall back in a moment. Others waver too, but in lower regions, with greater strength; if they are in danger of falling, they are caught up by the kinsman who walks beside them for that very purpose. But I waver on the heights; it is not death, alas, but the eternal torments of dying.

Patriotic parade. Speech by the mayor. Disappears, then reappears, and a shout in German: "Long live our beloved monarch, hurrah!" I stand there with my malignant look. These parades are one of the most disgusting accompaniments of the war. Originated by Jewish businessmen who are German one day, Czech the next; admit this to themselves, it is true, but were never permitted to shout it out as loudly as they do now. Naturally they carry many others along with them. It was well organized. It is supposed to be repeated every evening, twice tomorrow and Sunday.

In: Franz Kafka Diaries 1914

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