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Inspirational quotes by Franz Kafka about love, life, wisdom, beauty, fear, revolution, bureaucracy and other things.

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

Quick Facts

Famous As: Novelist

Born On: July 3, 1883

Died On: June 3, 1924

Born In: Prague, Austria-Hungary

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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.

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.

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

The meaning of life is that it stops.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

All language is but a poor translation.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

Books are a narcotic.

Franz Kafka

Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

Love is a drama of contradictions.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

First impressions are always unreliable.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

I miss you deeply, unfathomably, senselessly, terribly.

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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?

Franz Kafka

You are free and that is why you are lost.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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

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.

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.

Franz Kafka

Evil is whatever distracts.

Franz Kafka

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.

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

Please — consider me a dream.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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

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

Franz Kafka

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.

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.

Franz Kafka

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

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.

Franz Kafka

Writing is prayer.

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.

Franz Kafka

I lack nothing. I only needed myself.

Franz Kafka

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

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?

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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

Franz Kafka

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

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.

Franz Kafka

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.

Franz Kafka