József Rippl-Rónai, Houses in Florence by the River Arno (Woman Leaning on Her Elbow), 1904.
During a trip that they took together in August and September of 1911, Kafka and Max Brod hit on the idea of creating a new type of travel guide. “It would be called ‘Billig’ (‘On the Cheap’),” Brod remembered. “Franz was tireless and got a childlike pleasure out of elaborating all the principles down to the finest detail for this new type of guide, which was supposed to make us millionaires, and above all wrest us away from our awful office work.” —Reiner Stach, Is That Kafka?
Whoever leads a solitary life and yet now and then wishes to attach himself somewhere, anywhere—to be drawn at last, that is to say, into human relation, human harmony—might do well to come to Florence in the shoulder season, when the prices are lower and the narrow, crowded streets, with laborious effort and the proper shoes, can still be managed. There is so much to see. One chases after the city, stumbling and frantic, like a beginner learning to skate. And yet how can one be glad about the world unless one occasionally takes refuge in it?
There is no having, only a state of being that craves suffocation. Read More