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100 Inspirational Quotes By Franz Kafka That Will Make You Smile Despite All The Hurdles Of Life

Famous As: Novelist and Short-Story Writer, Widely Regarded as One of the Major Figures of 20th-Century Literature
Born On: July 3, 1883
Died On: June 3, 1924
Born In: Prague, Czech Republic
Died At Age: 40
German author Franz Kafka was one of the most significant authors in the 20th century and is still counted among the greatest authors to have graced the world of literature. Kafka studied to become a lawyer and later on found work with an insurance company; however he devoted most of his spare time to his writing pursuits. In a literary career that lasted only around 12 years, due to his death at the age of 40, Kafka produced a staggering body of work that included classics like ‘The Metamorphosis’, ‘The Castle’ and ‘The Trial’. Most of his novels and short stories were rooted in themes akin to existentialism and surrealism; as a result of which ‘Kafkaesque’ is a word that is now a part of the English dictionary that describes real life situtations that are similar to situations in his stories. Kafka was also a fine thinker as is demonstrated in his rich body of work and has produced a treasure trove of quotes that can be identified with almost any aspect of life. Among the pearls of wisdom that Kafka has produced over his literary career, here are some of the select quotes that would surely give you a new perspective on life. 
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Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.

Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.

Franz Kafka
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.

Franz Kafka
I am a cage, in search of a bird.

I am a cage, in search of a bird.

Franz Kafka
Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Franz Kafka
Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

Franz Kafka
I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.

I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.

Franz Kafka
I am free and that is why I am lost.

I am free and that is why I am lost.

Franz Kafka
A First Sign of the Beginning of Understanding is the Wish to Die.

A First Sign of the Beginning of Understanding is the Wish to Die.

Franz Kafka
I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.

I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.

Franz Kafka
The meaning of life is that it stops.

The meaning of life is that it stops.

Franz Kafka
All language is but a poor translation.

All language is but a poor translation.

Franz Kafka
A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity." [Letter to Max Brod, July 5, 1922]

Franz Kafka
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.

Franz Kafka
Books are a narcotic.

Books are a narcotic.

Franz Kafka
Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

Franz Kafka
Paths are made by walking

Paths are made by walking

Franz Kafka
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.

By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.

Franz Kafka
I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.

I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.

Franz Kafka
Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.

Franz Kafka
Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more.

Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more.

Franz Kafka
There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe ... but not for us.

There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe ... but not for us.

Franz Kafka
I am in chains. Don't touch my chains.

I am in chains. Don't touch my chains.

Franz Kafka
It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.

It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.

Franz Kafka
Love is, that you are the knife which I plunge into myself.

Love is, that you are the knife which I plunge into myself.

Franz Kafka
Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.

Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.

Franz Kafka
I do not speak as I think, I do not think as I should, and so it all goes on in helpless darkness.

I do not speak as I think, I do not think as I should, and so it all goes on in helpless darkness.

Franz Kafka
They say ignorance is bliss.... they're wrong

They say ignorance is bliss.... they're wrong

Franz Kafka
I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.

I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.

Franz Kafka
As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

Franz Kafka
In man's struggle against the world, bet on the world.

In man's struggle against the world, bet on the world.

Franz Kafka
He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn’t yet lived.

He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn’t yet lived.

Franz Kafka
I need solitude for my writing; not 'like a hermit' - that wouldn't be enough - but like a dead man.

I need solitude for my writing; not 'like a hermit' - that wouldn't be enough - but like a dead man.

Franz Kafka
L'ternit, c'est long ... surtout vers la fin.

L'ternit, c'est long ... surtout vers la fin.

Franz Kafka
You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart.

You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart.

Franz Kafka
This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.

This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.

Franz Kafka
Love is a drama of contradictions.

Love is a drama of contradictions.

Franz Kafka
Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached.

Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached.

Franz Kafka
First impressions are always unreliable.

First impressions are always unreliable.

Franz Kafka
I have spent all my life resisting the desire to end it.

I have spent all my life resisting the desire to end it.

Franz Kafka
May I kiss you then? On this miserable paper? I might as well open the window and kiss the night air.

May I kiss you then? On this miserable paper? I might as well open the window and kiss the night air.

Franz Kafka
Most men are not wicked... They are sleep-walkers, not evil evildoers.

Most men are not wicked... They are sleep-walkers, not evil evildoers.

Franz Kafka
We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.

We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.

Franz Kafka
I miss you deeply, unfathomably, senselessly, terribly.

I miss you deeply, unfathomably, senselessly, terribly.

Franz Kafka
Just think how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.

Just think how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.

Franz Kafka
You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.

You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.

Franz Kafka
Kill me, or you are a murderer.

Kill me, or you are a murderer.

Franz Kafka
Written kisses don't reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts.

Written kisses don't reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts.

Franz Kafka
From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.

From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.

Franz Kafka
What am I doing here in this endless winter?

What am I doing here in this endless winter?

Franz Kafka
You are free and that is why you are lost.

You are free and that is why you are lost.

Franz Kafka
God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.

God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.

Franz Kafka
All I am is literature, and I am not able or willing to be anything else.

All I am is literature, and I am not able or willing to be anything else.

Franz Kafka
My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.

My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.

Franz Kafka
It would have been so pointless to kill himself that, even if he had wanted to, the pointlessness would have made him unable.

It would have been so pointless to kill himself that, even if he had wanted to, the pointlessness would have made him unable.

Franz Kafka
The limited circle is pure.

The limited circle is pure.

Franz Kafka
April 27. Incapable of living with people, of speaking. Complete immersion in myself, thinking of myself. Apathetic, witless, fearful. I have nothing to say to anyone - never.

April 27. Incapable of living with people, of speaking. Complete immersion in myself, thinking of myself. Apathetic, witless, fearful. I have nothing to say to anyone - never.

Franz Kafka
The Kafka paradox: art depends on truth, but truth, being indivisable, cannot know itself: to tell the truth is to lie. thus the writer is the truth, and yet when he speaks he lies.

The Kafka paradox: art depends on truth, but truth, being indivisable, cannot know itself: to tell the truth is to lie. thus the writer is the truth, and yet when he speaks he lies.

Franz Kafka
Last night I dreamed about you. What happened in detail I can hardly remember, all I know is that we kept merging into one another. I was you, you were me. Finally you somehow caught fire.

Last night I dreamed about you. What happened in detail I can hardly remember, all I know is that we kept merging into one another. I was you, you were me. Finally you somehow caught fire.

Franz Kafka
I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more

I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more

Franz Kafka
I’m tired, can’t think of anything and want only to lay my face in your lap, feel your hand on my head and remain like that through all eternity.

I’m tired, can’t think of anything and want only to lay my face in your lap, feel your hand on my head and remain like that through all eternity.

Franz Kafka
Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.

Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.

Franz Kafka
They're talking about things of which they don't have the slightest understanding, anyway. It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.

They're talking about things of which they don't have the slightest understanding, anyway. It's only because of their stupidity that they're able to be so sure of themselves.

Franz Kafka
Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.

Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.

Franz Kafka
People label themselves with all sorts of adjectives. I can only pronounce myself as 'nauseatingly miserable beyond repair'.

People label themselves with all sorts of adjectives. I can only pronounce myself as 'nauseatingly miserable beyond repair'.

Franz Kafka
There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.

There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.

Franz Kafka
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.

Franz Kafka
Evil is whatever distracts.

Evil is whatever distracts.

Franz Kafka
It is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary.' 'A melancholy conclusion,' said K. 'It turns lying into a universal principle.

It is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary.' 'A melancholy conclusion,' said K. 'It turns lying into a universal principle.

Franz Kafka
Sleep is the most innocent creature there is and a sleepless man
the most guilty.

Sleep is the most innocent creature there is and a sleepless man the most guilty.

Franz Kafka
You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart; imagine my heartbeat when you are in this state.

You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart; imagine my heartbeat when you are in this state.

Franz Kafka
Hold fast to the diary from today on! Write regularly! Don't surrender! Even if no salvation should come, I want to be worthy of it every moment.

Hold fast to the diary from today on! Write regularly! Don't surrender! Even if no salvation should come, I want to be worthy of it every moment.

Franz Kafka
So eager are our people to obliterate the present.

So eager are our people to obliterate the present.

Franz Kafka
Logic may indeed be unshakeable, but it cannot withstand a man who is determined to live.

Logic may indeed be unshakeable, but it cannot withstand a man who is determined to live.

Franz Kafka
The person I am in the company of my sisters has been entirely different from the person I am in the company of other people. Fearless, powerful, surprising, moved as I otherwise am only when I write.

The person I am in the company of my sisters has been entirely different from the person I am in the company of other people. Fearless, powerful, surprising, moved as I otherwise am only when I write.

Franz Kafka
Please — consider me a dream.

Please — consider me a dream.

Franz Kafka
I do not read advertisements. I would spend all of my time wanting things.

I do not read advertisements. I would spend all of my time wanting things.

Franz Kafka
Yours

(now I'm even losing my name - it was getting shorter and shorter all the time and is now: Yours)

Yours (now I'm even losing my name - it was getting shorter and shorter all the time and is now: Yours)

Franz Kafka
You can choose to be free , but it's last decision you'll ever make

You can choose to be free , but it's last decision you'll ever make

Franz Kafka
Do you know, darling? When you became involved with others you quite possibly stepped down a level or two, but If you become involved with me, you will be throwing yourself into the abyss.

Do you know, darling? When you became involved with others you quite possibly stepped down a level or two, but If you become involved with me, you will be throwing yourself into the abyss.

Franz Kafka
Even the merest gesture is holy if it is filled with faith.

Even the merest gesture is holy if it is filled with faith.

Franz Kafka
I am too tired, I must try to rest and sleep, otherwise I am lost in every respect. What an effort to keep alive! Erecting a monument does not require an expenditure of so much strength.

I am too tired, I must try to rest and sleep, otherwise I am lost in every respect. What an effort to keep alive! Erecting a monument does not require an expenditure of so much strength.

Franz Kafka
Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.

Franz Kafka
I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe.

I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe.

Franz Kafka
No,

No," said the priest, "you don't need to accept everything as true, you only have to accept it as necessary." "Depressing view," said K. "The lie made into the rule of the world.

Franz Kafka
What do I have in common with Jews? I don't even have anything in common with myself.

What do I have in common with Jews? I don't even have anything in common with myself.

Franz Kafka
He was a tool of the boss, without brains or backbone.

He was a tool of the boss, without brains or backbone.

Franz Kafka
Writing is a deeper sleep than death. 
Just as one wouldn't pull a corpse from its grave, 
I can't be dragged from my desk at night.

Writing is a deeper sleep than death. Just as one wouldn't pull a corpse from its grave, I can't be dragged from my desk at night.

Franz Kafka
I can love only what I can place so high above me that I cannot reach it.

I can love only what I can place so high above me that I cannot reach it.

Franz Kafka
Writing is prayer.

Writing is prayer.

Franz Kafka
But sleep? On a night like this? What an idea! Just think of how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.

But sleep? On a night like this? What an idea! Just think of how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.

Franz Kafka
What I write is different from what I say, what I say is different from what I think, what I think is different from what I ought to think and so it goes further into the deepest darkness.

What I write is different from what I say, what I say is different from what I think, what I think is different from what I ought to think and so it goes further into the deepest darkness.

Franz Kafka
I lack nothing. I only needed myself.

I lack nothing. I only needed myself.

Franz Kafka
If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?

If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?

Franz Kafka
What if I slept a little more and forgot about all this nonsense.

What if I slept a little more and forgot about all this nonsense.

Franz Kafka
Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.

Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.

Franz Kafka
The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.

The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.

Franz Kafka
Nothing unites two people so completely, especially if, like you and me, all they have is words.

Nothing unites two people so completely, especially if, like you and me, all they have is words.

Franz Kafka
It certainly was not my intention to make you suffer, yet i have done so; obviously it never will be my intention to make you suffer, yet I shall always do so.

It certainly was not my intention to make you suffer, yet i have done so; obviously it never will be my intention to make you suffer, yet I shall always do so.

Franz Kafka
All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers, is contained in the dog.

All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers, is contained in the dog.

Franz Kafka
So then you’re free?’ 
‘Yes, I’m free,’ said Karl, and nothing seemed more worthless than his freedom.

So then you’re free?’ ‘Yes, I’m free,’ said Karl, and nothing seemed more worthless than his freedom.

Franz Kafka