Quotes from Blue Octavo Notebooks

Franz Kafka ·  120 pages

Rating: (755 votes)

“Everyone carries a room about inside him. This fact can even be proved by means of the sense of hearing. If someone walks fast and one pricks up one’s ears and listens, say in the night, when everything round about is quiet, one hears, for instance, the rattling of a mirror not quite firmly fastened to the wall.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“Art flies around truth, but with the definite intention of not getting burnt. Its capacity lies in finding in the dark void a place where the beam of light can be intensely caught, without this having been perceptible before.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“The man in ecstasy and the man drowning—both throw up their arms.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“The main thing, when a sword cuts into one’s soul, is to keep a calm gaze, lose no blood, accept the coldness of the sword with the coldness of a stone. By means of the stab, after the stab, become invulnerable.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“Idleness is the beginning of all vice, the crown of all virtues.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“How pathetically scanty my self-knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“Seen with the terrestrially sullied eye, we are in a situation of travelers in a train that has met with an accident in a tunnel, and this at a place where the light of the beginning can no longer be seen, and the light of the end is so very small a glimmer that the gaze must continually search for it and is always losing it again, and, furthermore, both the beginning and the end are not even certainties. Round about us, however, in the confusion of our senses, or in the supersensitiveness of our senses, we have nothing but monstrosities and a kaleidoscopic play of things that is either delightful or exhausting according to the mood and injury of each individual. What shall I do? or: Why should I do it? are not questions to be asked in such places.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“Evil has ways of surprising one. Suddenly it turns round and says: “You have misunderstood me,” and perhaps it really is so. Evil transforms itself into your own lips, lets itself be gnawed at by your teeth, and with these new lips -- no former ones fitted smoothly to your gums -- to your own amazement you utter the words of goodness.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“If you were walking across a plain, had an honest intention of walking on, and yet kept regressing, then it would be a desperate matter; but since you are scrambling up a cliff, about as steep as you yourself are if seen from below, the regression can only be caused by the nature of the ground, and you must not despair.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“The observer of the soul cannot penetrate into the soul, but there doubtless is a margin where he comes into contact with it.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“Hiding places there are innumerable, escape is only one, but possibilities of escape, again, are as many as hiding places.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“It is only our conception of time that makes us call the Last Judgment by this name. It is, in fact, a kind of martial law.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“It is comforting to reflect that the disproportion of things in the world seems to be only arithmetical.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“At least descriptive psychology is probably, taken as a whole, a form of anthropomorphism, a nibbling at our own limits.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

“In the struggle between yourself and the world
second the world.”
― Franz Kafka, quote from Blue Octavo Notebooks

About the author

Franz Kafka
Born place: in Prague, Austria-Hungary
Born date July 3, 1883
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