Franz Kafka on writing, quoted by Tom Robbins

Before the Prologue to his playful debut Still Life with Woodpecker, Tom Robbins quotes a few lines by Kafka, which I haven’t been able to trace back to the original source, but I’ve always found delightful and somewhat perversely un-Kafka-like:

You don’t need to leave your room.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Don’t even listen, simply wait.
Don’t even wait.
Be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you.
To be unmasked, it has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

7 thoughts on “Franz Kafka on writing, quoted by Tom Robbins

  1. Strange to believe, but it’s an original Kafka’s quote.

    Written and published before his masterpiecies, pending the Great War.
    I’ve been addressed to it following the same Robbins’path. And I’ve found
    “Human nature, essentially changeable, as unstable as the dust, can endure no restraint; if it binds itself it soon begins to tear madly at its bonds, until it rends everything asunder, the wall, the bonds, and its very self.”

  2. Pingback: Kafka Blog » Blog Archive » “The world will freely offer itself to you.”

  3. Hi Paola,
    I have been tracing the quote from Kafka for some time “You don’t need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Don’t even listen, simply wait. Don’t even wait. Be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you. To be unmasked, it has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” without finding from which of his book it is quoted…
    To a point where I wonder if it’s really from him.
    Any comments, suggestions,
    Merci !
    Pierre

  4. It’s a quote I used in my dissertation and I got it from a 1933 copy of The Great Wall of China, a collection of short stories published in 1932. The last section is called Reflections on sin, pain, hope and the true way and it’s the very last reflection.

  5. GRATITUDE to Major Lloyd.

    It drives me –CRAZY– the way folks quote & then requote IN PRINT w/o even checking sources. PHOOEY!!!

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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