A cage went in search of a bird

5223Because he is the most internationally famous Czech writer (although he wrote in German), Prague has made the most of Kafka. There’s a (very bad) cafe on the ground floor of the house where he was born, a Kafka map of Prague, and a fairly large exhibit of photos and manuscripts at the Kafka Museum. The museum itself is odd, as if they tried to embody alienation in the setting of the exhibits which are all upstairs in a long, dark gallery.

The overpowering sense is blackness. There’s disturbing background music, some strange, floating tables with projected images, a walk-through scrim with a projected photo, quotes, letters, etc.

imagesThere’s a section on the women in Kafka’s life, his affairs and engagement, with projected photos of the women appearing and fading. 

2005_FRANZ-KAFKA-MUSEUM_PRAGUE_02-2There’s a whole section set up like black file cabinets, with random drawers opening on exhibits of first editions or letters. Larry noted that it’s as if Disney set out to create a theme park of alienation.

However, there were some great quotes. My two favorites are the one that titles this post, from his notebooks, and this one about Jewish writers. “They live beset by three impossibilities: the impossibility of not writing, the impossibility of writing in German and the impossibility of writing differently, and we could add a fourth impossibility: the impossibility of writing at all.”

And just looking up from the city at the apparently endless castle makes one think of him from time to time.

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