Franz Kafka: 10 quotes for his birthday

Franz Kafka was born in Prague on July 3, 1883. He was not a well known author in his lifetime, but instead earned his living working for an insurance company and wrote on the side. Since his death in 1924, Kafka has grown in esteem and popularity, and the term "kafkaesque" has come into everyday vocabulary to describe surreal, stifling situations similar to the ones in Kafka's fiction. Much of Kafka's work exists today only because his friend Max Brod refused to honor Kafka's request to destroy his manuscripts upon his death. Had Brod complied, the 20th century would have lost one of its greatest authors. Here, to celebrate his birthday, are some macabre, profound, and darkly witty quotes from Franz Kafka.

AP Photo/Petr David Josek
Bronze statue, seen through branches, of author Franz Kafka by Czech artist Jaroslav Rona in, Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

1. On Books

"I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn't wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?"  

– from a letter to Oskar Pollak (January 27, 1904)

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