While researching another post I hope to write soon, about Franz Kafka and a small room in San Francisco, I stumbled upon something else that seemed worth putting up on the blog; it’s from Kafka’s Diaries: 1910-1923.
In an early entry, from 1911, Kafka describes the “unhappiness of the bachelor,” an unhappiness that, for him, seems less dependent on loneliness or personal abandonment – or even on some catastrophic sense of being overlooked by the world, always – than on space: a bachelor never has enough of it.
A bachelor is alone, after all, which means that “so much the smaller a space is considered sufficient for him.”
One could perhaps say that, for Kafka, a bachelor is never spatially respected…
In any case, looking for space – or for the proper space, the one that feels right and “has a few panes of glass between itself and the night” – our bachelor finds that he “moves incessantly, but with predictable regularity, from one apartment to another.”
This goes on – and on – for the rest of his isolated existence until “he, this bachelor, still in the midst of life, apparently of his own free will resigns himself to an ever smaller space, and when he dies the coffin is exactly right for him.”