Monday, January 09, 2006

File 1.45

Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type and you find that you have created - nothing. There are no types, no plurals. There is a rich boy, and this is his and not his brothers' story. All my life I have lived among his brothers but this one has been my friend. Besides, if I wrote about his brothers I should have to begin by attacking all the lies that the poor have told about the rich and the rich have told about themselves - such wild structure they have erected that when we pick up a book about the rich, some instinct prepares us for unreality. Even the intelligent and impassioned reporters of life have made the country of the rich as unreal as fairy-land.
F.S. Fitzgerald, "The Rich Boy", The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, 139.


At 9:24 am, Anonymous Daniel Pressley said...

Thanks for the Kafka quotation. I think yours is the only available online, English translation for the Uebelkeit nach zuviel Psychologie remarks. I thought I would add a footnote to it though - hope you don't mind. The sentence "Da gehen einem die Augen über" is a Biblical reference, I think. Consciously or otherwise, Kafka is referring to the famous phrase "Jesus wept" or, in Luther's original, "Jesus gingen die Augen über." "Jesus wept" is famous for being the shortest verse in the New Testament and describes Christ's reaction to the death of his friend, Lazarus.

According to Kafka, then, psychology is enough to bring one to tears.

At 12:00 pm, Blogger Geist said...

Hi Daniel, thanks for your comment. TBH I've some doubt over the implicit or explicit Christian reference. Kafka certainly seems to think that psychology will bring one to tears. But hasn't the expression entered idiomatic speech since Luther's day? Is there a pressing reason to read it as a "Christian" line?


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