The Ghosts Won’t Starve, But We will Perish: Kafka in Love

Kafka was famous enough to have an adjective named after him in English, so that should make him pretty good at this writing stuff.

But that doesn’t mean he can get his thoughts across to a loved one, or cope with that horror of modern life – a long distance romance.  This is him tearing his heart out. For once he is not being Kafkaesque. He is being very painfully honest and real. I imagine him standing on a hilltop in the dead of night, howling at the moon. No, maybe not. that’s a long way to lump his heavy typewriter.

I love this:

“How on earth did anyone get the idea that people can communicate with one another by letter! Of a distant person one can think, and of a person who is near one can catch hold – all else goes beyond human strength. Writing letters, however, means to denude oneself before the ghosts, something for which they greedily wait. Written kisses don’t reach their destination, rather, they are drunk on the way by ghosts. It is on this ample nourishment that they multiply so enormously. Humanity senses this and fights against it and in order to eliminate as far as possible the ghostly element between people and to create natural communication, the peace of souls, it has invented the railway, the motorcar, the aeroplane. But it’s no longer any good, these are evidently inventions made at the moment of crashing. The opposing side is so much calmer and stronger; after the postal service it has invented the telegraph, the telephone, the radiograph. The ghosts won’t starve, but we will perish.

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